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Taihō Kōki (大鵬幸喜)

Mr. Naya Kōki, better known by his ring name Taihō Kōki (大鵬幸喜), a sumo wrestler, passed away from ventricular tachycardia at Keio University Hospital in Shinjuku, Tōkyō. A native of Shisuka, Karafuto, Japanese Sakhalin (present-day Poronaysk, Sakhalin, Russia), he was 72 years old.

大鵬幸喜として知られる相撲力士の納谷幸喜氏が、心室頻拍のため東京都新宿区の慶應義塾大学病院で死去。樺太庁敷香町(現在のロシア共和国サハリン州)出身。享年72。
Only five years after his debut, he was granted the title of yokozuna at the age of 21. Winning 32 Emperor's cups, he remains the sumo wrestler with the most championships.

He was posthumously bestowed with People's Honor Award.

Source(s): The Sports Nippon, Jiji Press, The Mainichi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun

Links to professional obituaries:

Taiho, Dominant Postwar Sumo Champ, Dies at 72 (The New York Times; by Margalit Fox)

"Taiho, widely considered the greatest sumo wrestler of postwar Japan despite the fact that he weighed scarcely more than 300 pounds, died on Saturday in Tokyo. He was 72.

His death, of heart failure, was announced by the Japanese Sumo Association. Taiho, who made his debut in the mid-1950s, dominated his sport until the early ’70s. Standing about 6 feet 1 and weighing about 220 pounds at the start of his career, he was a sylph of sumo, relying on skill more than heft to win matches..."

SUMO/ Obituary: Taiho, legend of the Showa Era, left his mark on the sport (The Asahi Shimbun; by Noriyasu Nukui)

"With his handsome face and unrivaled strength, the legendary yokozuna Taiho was a natural hero for the early years of sumo broadcasts on TVs across the nation.

People rushed from the bathtubs in public bathhouses when his bouts were about to start and crowded into changing rooms where TVs were placed. A nation grieved on Jan. 19 as Taiho, who blazed a trail across sumo in the Showa Era (1926-1989) as the sport's greatest champion, died at age 72..."

Taiho obituary: Popular sumo wrestler who broke records in his sport (The Guardian; by Michael Carlson)

"Taiho, who has died of heart failure aged 72, was considered the greatest sumo wrestler of the second half of the 20th century, and arguably the greatest of all time, winning 32 honbasho – "real" or official tournaments – a mark that has never been approached.

Making his way to the top division by the age of 19, he blazed through the rankings to achieve the highest, yokozuna, at 21, the youngest to that date. Elevation to yokozuna requires not only winning, but also an appropriate sense of spirit, dignity and grace, and Taiho's rapid rise was all the more remarkable because he was only half Japanese..."

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