Taylor Wily, 'Hawaii Five-O' Actor, Dead at 56

Taylor Wily, best known for his roles on 'Hawaii Five-0' and 'Magnum P.I.,' has died at age 56.

Taylor Wily, best known for his roles on Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I., is dead at 56. According to local Hawaii TV outlet KITV, the actor died Thursday, although the cause of death remains unknown.

"It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of a Hawaii celebrity who was also a family friend," host, celebrity and musician Lina Girl Langi shared on the broadcast. "Taylor Wily, former wrestler, MMA fighter and actor passed away today in Hurricane, Utah."

Her co-host, Davey D, described Wily as one of the "kindest" and "gentlest souls."

"He would look physically menacing until you just folded right into a hug, and that was it," Langi said of Wily. "My heart is breaking." 

Aofega Wily, Taylor Wily, Peter Lenkov, Young Aisa Wily and Aisa Wily (l-r) at the CBS 'Hawaii Five-0' Sunset On The Beach Season 7 Premier Event in September 2016. - Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Peter M. Lenkov, executive producer of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot, confirmed the news of Wily's death on social media. 

Lenkov first posted a candid photo of him with Wily on Instagram with a simple message, reading, "I am devastated. Heartbroken. I'll post some detailed feelings later. Just too hard right now."

He later shared a video montage of the late actor with a lengthier caption addressing Wily directly.

"T, as I told you many times, I fell in love with you at the first audition. You came in with a towel on your head mopping up sweat, and I was smitten. You charmed me into making you a regular… on the show… and in my life. You were family. And I will miss you every day, brother," he wrote.

"PS: when we spoke last week, we laughed at how right you were from Day 1. Five-0 was our dream job. And I was so lucky we got to share that magic together," Lenkov concluded his message."

Wily was born Teila Tuli on June 14, 1968, in Laie, Hawaii. He started out as a mixed martial artist and sumo wrestler under the name "Takamishu." According to TV Insider, Wily won his first 14 matches before becoming the first foreign-born wrestler to win the championship in the third-highest Makushita division. 

Wily began competing in Ultimate Fighting Championships after leaving sumo wrestling, before reportedly making history as the first UFC fighter to transition into acting.

Wily kicked off his acting career with background appearances on shows like the original Magnum P.I.North Shore and One West in the 1980s to early 2000s.

His first notable acting role in a major film came in 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall in which he played a hotel worker who befriends Jason Segel's Peter Bretter. Two years later, he was cast in a recurring role on CBS' Hawaii Five-0 reboot as entrepreneurial local informant Kamekona, a character he would play for the show's entire 10-year run from 2010 to 2020.

He reprised his role in several episodes of the Magnum P.I. reboot starring Jay Hernandez, as well as in an episode of the MacGyver reboot in 2017. 

Taylor Wily as Kamekona and Jay Hernandez as Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I. - Karen Neal/CBS/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Wily is survived by his wife, Halona, and their two children.

Several of the late actor's friends and former co-stars have shared their condolences to his family on social media.

Dennis Chun, who played Sgt. Duke Lukela on the Hawaii Five-0 reboot, shared a photo of the pair on Instagram and wrote, "Laura and I are heart broken to learn of the passing of Taylor Wily. He was not just a great talent but he was a giant of man."

"His aloha and heart always made sharing a scene with him such a joy," he added. "It was an honor to not only work with him but also to call him friend. Rest well Taylor. Hawaii and I weep tonight. Aloha Taylor until we meet again."