Sumo Wrestling Legend Akebono Passes Away at 54

Sumo Wrestling Legend Akebono Passes Away at 54

Akebono, the renowned sumo wrestler and former grand champion, has died at 54 from heart failure in Tokyo. Famous for his match against Big Show at WWE’s WrestleMania 21, his death marks the end of a significant sports legacy.

Sumo wrestling icon Akebono, known for his match against Big Show at WWE’s WrestleMania 21, has passed away at the age of 54.

The former grand champion died earlier this month in Tokyo due to heart failure, as confirmed by his family in a statement on Thursday. At the time of his passing, he was under medical care at a local hospital.

Sumo Wrestling Legend Akebono Passes Away at 54

Originally from Hawaii, Akebono moved to Tokyo in the 1980s and quickly rose to prominence in the sumo wrestling world. Standing 6-foot-8 and weighing up to 500 pounds during his career, he won his first grand championship in 1993 and secured the title a total of 11 times before retiring in 2001.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel reflected on Akebono’s impact, stating, “Akebono’s talent strengthened the cultural ties between the United States and his adopted homeland by uniting us all through sport.” Emanuel also extended his “sincerest condolences to his family and friends and to sumo fans everywhere.”

Akebono also made a memorable appearance in American wrestling in 2011, when he participated in a sumo exhibition with Big Show at WrestleMania in Los Angeles. The match was a highlight for fans, with Akebono triumphantly ejecting Big Show from the ring.

The family of Akebono has announced plans for a private ceremony to celebrate his life and has requested privacy during their time of mourning.

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