According to a report from the Puroresu Spirit Facebook page, Japanese Sumo and Puroresu legend Akebono Tarō has been battling acute heart failure for nearly a year now.
As fans might be aware, Akebono Tarō, who is of Hawaiian decent, was one of the most accomplished Sumo wrestlers of the 1990's, and has also enjoyed considerable success in Puroresu (Japanese professional wrestling). He has held the All Japan Pro Wrestling Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship on two occasions, as well as AJPW's World Tag Team Championships (once with Taiyo Kea and once with Yutaka Yoshie) and All Asia Tag Team Championships (with Ryoto Hama). He is also a former Pro Wrestling Zero1 World Heavyweight Champion.
Fans also may recall his appearance at WWE WrestleMania 21 back in 2005, when he competed in a Sumo match against WWE Superstar The Big Show.
In addition to Sumo and Puroresu, Akebono also had a lengthy career in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts competition. Although he didn't enjoy success in kickboxing or MMA, he did step into the ring against noteworthy fighters such as Bob "The Beast" Sapp, Akio "Musashi" Mori, Remy Bonjasky, and UFC Hall of Famers Royce Gracie and Don "The Predator" Frye.
According to the report from Puroresu Spirit, he started to experience chest pains after his last match for the Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) Pro Wrestling organization in April of last year. His health sharply declined after he went to the hospital, and he wasn't even able to start rehabilitating until this past October.
Akebono is reportedly itching to leave the hospital and go home, but he is currently confined to a wheelchair. He has lost a considerable amount of weight as well. He went from 460 pounds down to 330 pounds.