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The Former Wrestler, Fighter, and sumo star actually died a while ago but from chronic renal failure. But his death had been kept quiet until being reported by Japan’s Nikkan Sports some weeks ago.
Koji Kitao passed away from chronic renal failure. He was 55 years old.
Legendary star had an eventful albeit futile pro-wrestling career: he worked on the 1991 WrestleMania show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, teaming with Tenryu to beat Demolition (Barry Darsow & Brian Adams).
At the time WWF had a working agreement with SWS, Tenryu’s group, owned by a billionaire far richer than Vince McMahon, so to make him happy, they had Tenryu & Kitao get a win over one of their top tag teams at WrestleMania.
Kitao was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2013 and passed away on February 10, 2019. An official statement of his death was only announced earlier today though.
Apart from his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, Super World of Sports and various MMA promotions, most North American Wrestling Fans remember him for his WrestleMania VII match, where him and Japenese Wrestling Legend Tenryu defeated the Team of Demolition.
Kitao also worked for MMA, including a match in UFC where he lost to Mark Hall, who was about 190 pounds, and who broke his nose with a punch. He also did a worked match on a Pride show where he defeated Nathan Jones, who later came to WWE.
REST IN PEACE KOJI KITAO!