Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Former spokesman of Keikó, the killer whale from the Free Willy movies, wants its remains brought back to Iceland

By Matt Eliason

  • Free Willy come home! Keikó the killer whale died off the coast of Norway from lung disease in 2003. Now his spokesperson Hallur Hallsson wants his body brought back to Iceland. Keikó was kept in the harbor of the westman islands during his training in the early 2000s. Photo/Vilhelm

In a confusing series of events, former spokesman of killer whale and movie star Keikó, Icelander Hallur Hallsson, wants the body of the animal brought home to Iceland. One interesting twist to the story - the whale died in 2003. 

Keikó the killer whale became world famous in the 1990s for his role as Free Willy in the popular movie trilogy. Keikó was originally born off of Iceland's coast in 1978. After starring in the movies during the 1990s, he was later returned to the Westman Islands, located off the coast of south Iceland. 

The iconic movie poster from 1993.

Training was carried out on the islands with an effort to dehumanize Keiko, so the killer whale could be released back into the wild. The trainers felt that in July 2002, Keikó was finally ready for his release from human captivity. However in an unfortunate twist, Keikó succumbed to lung disease off the coast of Norway in 2003. 

The recent controversy in this ongoing saga is what to do with Keikó's body. He is currently buried underneath stones off Norway's coast and spokesman Hallsson believes this is not the proper way to honor the famous killer whale. As a result, Hallur would like what remains of the killer whale to be brought back to Iceland. No decision has been made yet as to what will happen with Keikó, but Hallsson continues to push for action from the animal rights community.

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