HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the months after renowned sumo wrestler Akebono Taro suffered acute heart failure last April, media reports out of Japan indicated he was unable to even get up from bed.
The Hawaii native is still hospitalized in Tokyo, but appears to finally be on the mend.
A story published Friday by the Japanese website Nikkan Sports says it took Akebono – the first non-Japanese-born sumo wrestler to reach the title of yokozuna – nearly six months before he was physically well enough to begin rehabilitation. That process began in October, and while it's been slow going, there are positive signs his health is improving.
Akebono has reportedly lost more than 130 pounds since the medical incident, and the Japanese-language report indicates that he's now able to wheel himself around his hospital room in a wheelchair, if only for short distances.
The article does not mention any immediate plans of discharge from the hospital.
The 48-year-old Akebono, born Chadwick Haheo Rowan, embraced life as a mixed martial artist and pro wrestler in Japan following the conclusion of his distinguished sumo career.