Former sumo wrestler and AJPW star Akebono has passed away

Former sumo wrestler and AJPW star Akebono has passed away at age 54.

Japanese media announced on Wednesday Akebono died of heart failure. It was also noted that Akebono had been sick since 2017. He was admitted to a hospital after a DDT tour. He was confined to a wheelchair and continued to suffer from heart complications.

According to F4WOnline, Akebono was born Chadwick Haheo Rowan and was of Hawaiian descent. He started in sumo wrestling in 1988 and became the first non-Japanese sumo to reach the rank of yokozuna, which is the highest rank of sumo possible. He would retire from sumo in 2001 and began in professional wrestling in 2005 when he defeated The Big Show in a sumo match at WrestleMania 21.

After his WrestleMania 21 match, he signed with All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he would wrestle off and on through 2015. He became a two-time Triple Crown Champion and won the Champion Carnival tournament in 2015. He was the founder the Odo Japanese wrestling promotion, where he served as president until his hospitalization.

Wrestleview sends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Akebono.