Akebono Taro, who made history in the early 90’s by becoming the first non-Japanese born wrestler to ever reach yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo, passed away within the past week, according to a report from the Associated Press.

54-year old Akebono Taro, born Chadwick Haheo Rowan, retired from sumo wrestling in 2001 and later made appearances on WWE television in 2005, to hype a match against The Big Show (aka Paul Wight) at WrestleMania 21, where Taro emerged victorious.

Following on from his WWE appearances, Taro went on to appear for promotions including WRESTLE-1, All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Dragon Gate, HUSTLE, Osaka Pro, Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Michinoku Pro, Tenryu Project, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, Wrestling New Classic, DDT Pro Wrestling, FREEDOMS, Real Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA and more.

During his professional wrestling career, Taro was a two-time AJPW World Tag Team Champion, a two-time Triple Crown Champion in All Japan Pro Wrestling, a three-time NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champion, a one-time ZERO1 World Heavyweight Champion, a one-time NWA World Premium Heavyweight Champion, a one-time Open The Triangle Gate Champion, a two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion, and a one-time KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion.

On behalf of Wrestling-News.Net, we would like to extend our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Akebono Taro.