Former WWE WrestleMania Star Passes Away

WWE WrestleMania logo over blurred venue

Former WWE WrestleMania star and sumo wrestler Akebono has passed away after a long battle with ill-health at the age of just 54.

Japanese media confirmed on the 10th of April that Akebono had passed away due to heart failure. The Yokozuna (sumo grand champion) was hospitalized after a DDT tour in 2017 and had been confined to a wheelchair ever since due to complications with his heart.

Akebono was born Chadwick Haheo Rowan in Hawaii in 1969. He adopted the name Akebono when he began his sumo career in Japan in 1988. He won promotion to sumo’s highest rank of Yokozuna in 1993 and held that rank for eight years. He stepped away from the sport in the early 2000s due to injury before moving on to a career in kickboxing and professional wrestling.

Akebono Undefeated At WWE WrestleMania

Akebono competed in WWE in 2005, facing The Big Show at WrestleMania 21 in a sumo contest. Akebono won the contest in three minutes and in July of that year, he teamed with Big Show to defeat Carlito and Matt Morgan on a live event in Japan.

A long tenure in All Japan Pro Wrestling followed with Akebono winning the Triple Crown championship in 2013. His last match came in 2017 on a DDT tour after which his ill health started to take effect.