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Akebono, Foreign-Born Sumo Champion in Japan, Dies at 54

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Taro Akebono, a Hawaii-born sumo wrestler who grew to become the game’s first international grand champion, has died. He was 54.

He died of coronary heart failure in early April whereas receiving care at a hospital in Tokyo, based on a press release from his household that was distributed by the USA Forces in Japan.

Born Chad George Ha’aheo Rowan in Hawaii, Akebono grew to become Japan’s sixty fourth yokozuna, or grand champion sumo wrestler, in 1993, the primary foreign-born sumo wrestler to win the game’s highest title. He went on to win a complete of 11 grand championships.

He’s survived by his spouse, a daughter and two sons, based on the U.S. Forces in Japan.

Motoko Wealthy contributed reporting.

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