Remembering Hawaii football’s super fan

Despite being weakened by cancer treatments, Kekoa Furtado attended two home games this season. / Photo by Tim Bowden

The next time somebody wonders about Hawaii football’s attendance, think about George “Kekoa” Furtado.

Despite being weakened by cancer treatments, as well as lungs coated with Agent Orange from a war five decades earlier, Kekoa attended every UH home game in 2018. And he made it to the first two games at Aloha Stadium this year, saving each precious breath to cheer.

The next time somebody wonders about root-root-rooting for the home team, think about Kekoa.

He was elected as “chairman” for a group that donated a picture of Polynesian warriors and a mana-producing koa plaque to the UH locker room, as well as a koa lei that head coach Nick Rolovich wears each game.

The next time somebody wonders about loyalty, think about Kekoa.

He loved his country, serving in the Army as a paratrooper. The country loved Kekoa, who was trusted with secrets while working in Special Ops.

He had great love for God, family, friends, and his two favorite schools — Kamehameha, where he was a star athlete, and UH.

Last week, Kekoa was sent home from the hospital to prepare for what Pastor Bulla Eastman has deemed “the best place.”

But Kekoa, who passed away on Sunday, had one last fight in him. He lived long enough for the arrival of family members … and the Warriors’ victory over Nevada.

Kekoa and Diana Furtado/Photo by Tim Bowden


  1. haka October 1, 2019 9:48 am

    Nice tribute to Warrior Kekoa. Flying once again; this time with the angels. We will remember!

    Aloha Kekoa!
    Go Warriors!

  2. Da Punchbowl Kid October 1, 2019 10:02 am

    Simply a wonderful man. It was blessing to be his friend and collaborator. Sweety, myself, and many many others love him dearly. Every UH game I watch, a little bit of him will be there. A butterfly soul with a Warrior spirit.

    Prayers and aloha to his Queen, Diana and to the rest of his ‘ohana.

    Ahui hou Kekoa, moe me na anela!

  3. Whitey October 1, 2019 10:14 am

    Excellent tribute to an Ultimate Warrior. Aloha Kekoa.

  4. duffer October 1, 2019 11:02 am

    A true WARRIOR!

  5. BigIslandKurt October 1, 2019 12:21 pm

    Bless you my good brother. You have done good work. Many years ago, the tsaikos met up in Hilo. This was the first time I ever met Kekoa and Diana. They had an ice cream cake for me…well, actually for my daughter who was all of about 2 or 3 years old at the time. This man’s legacy is a great one. Go Bows. Now you can fly Kekoa.

  6. H-Man October 1, 2019 12:33 pm

    Condolences to Kekoa’s family and friends. I think he was blessed to watch the Warriors beat Arizona, Oregon St. and listen (I presume) to the rout of Nevada before passing.

  7. Bowwar October 1, 2019 12:45 pm

    Mahalo Kekoa for your service to our country, your family, and the UH Warriors! God needed you to rally the fans in heaven…May you Rest In Peace!

  8. Puanani Furtado October 1, 2019 1:02 pm

    Mahalo for wonderful article about my dad. He is and will always be my hero and warrior. It has been an honor listening and reading about my dad and how he touched so many lives. He will missed …Aloha

  9. Andrew October 1, 2019 1:25 pm

    Nice tribute. RIP

  10. Andrew October 1, 2019 1:29 pm

    Saw on a BSU fan site that the Game vs Hawaii is their homecoming. I hope Rolo uses that as bulletin board material for the team. I’m sure he must have done that for the Nevada game. It made it that much sweeter that we completely embarrassed them off the field. I don’t think a blow out @ Boise State is likely but I hope we ruin their homecoming

  11. Bulla October 1, 2019 1:39 pm

    One small correction, Kekoa is in THE BEST PLACE! Imua Lanakila My Warrior Brother, i ke Akua ka ho’onani ia; to GOD be the Glory

  12. A-Joe October 1, 2019 3:15 pm

    O Hawaiian! My Hawaiian! Your fearful trip is done;
    Your canoe has weather’d every rack, the prize you’ve sought is won…

    O Hawaiian! My Hawaiian! Forever I will love you so.

  13. JesseJames October 1, 2019 3:56 pm

    Going to miss my friend and the laughs we had. The gentle giant with a huge heart. I take comfort in knowing that he has the best seats in the house and will be with our Warriors as they bring us the W in Boise. A Hui Hou my brother.

  14. A-House October 1, 2019 4:28 pm

    my 3rd attempt to post our deepest sympathy and condolences to Mrs. Di, Queen of the flat lands and her family for the loss of truly a great person, dad, brother, uncle, and friend!,

    we will miss him at tailgates and games, but knowing that he and all Tsaikos who preceded him will have the best seats in the sky to watch their beloved Warriors.

    aloha no my friend!!!

  15. NorthShoreFan October 1, 2019 4:38 pm

    Kekoa….you and Pomai can watch the games with the best seats in the house.
    Rest easy friend. T-gates will somehow not be quite the same but we know you’ll be there.

  16. bg October 1, 2019 5:05 pm

    My brother from another mother, I so miss you already. Your face was so peaceful when the angels came to take your hand. Despite the years of pain and mighty struggle, you still reached out to family, friends, and strangers when the need was there. Sometimes to places far away. You and Diana were the ultimate hosts to an army of all kine folks. Mahalo, my brother.

    Going forward, the days are much emptier without you. I reach for the phone to call or text you and stop… an aching heart tells me we can not do that anymore. But, while I selfishly grieve, I also rejoice that you have taken your well-earned place in Paradise. There is no other place for you.

    We both agreed, entering the fall, that this was to be a special season for the Warriors and the Wahine. And so it will be. We Believe. We Believe. We Believe. For you have paved the way.

    Though you were near Dealth’s door, I know you heard me when I leaned over and whispered in your ear, “Warriors win! Warriors win!” Your score of 56-13 probably was the winner but you can take that up with Pomai!

    I Mua my brother

  17. bg October 1, 2019 5:23 pm

    ST, so much appreciation for your incredible piece on Kekoa. You are amazing…someday you’ll have to tell me how you can go through a whole week without sleeping! Mahalo

  18. Pukalani boy October 1, 2019 5:34 pm

    Great article RIP brother.. go bows.

  19. wafan October 1, 2019 6:49 pm

    Thank you, Kekoa, you know why.

    Thank you, Mr. Tsai, for a great tribute for an honest-to-goodness real-life Warrior.

  20. Warren B October 1, 2019 7:56 pm

    RIL Uncle hearing the stories about you and your DAD true HEROS.

  21. Inyoface October 1, 2019 10:44 pm

    Win at Boise state for Kekoa. We gotta use what we learned at Washington to adjust to what we’ll do at Boise. Seems like UH is getting better every game. We had enough games to know what to do to beat them.

  22. LizKauai October 1, 2019 11:06 pm

    Blessed to have shared so many games, T-Gates, karaoke and cattle calls with Kekoa and Diana. As we all will age up into the next League eventually, the names of our blog friends like las vegas, Calvin from Kona, Pomai, Big Hilo Fan, Stephen Rodrigues, Gary, the writer, dang, I am missing so many who have paved the way for Tsai-kos in the best seats in the House…
    FFFFF, the Finest, Friendliest, Furtado Football Fans ever. We just said aloha to Pops a few months ago, and now Kekoa.
    Mahalo, Ke Akua. iMUA, Rainbow Warriors! Expect miracles! :mrgreen:

  23. roygbivs October 2, 2019 3:35 am

    a hui hou mākou

    Foeva a Rainbow 🌈 R. I. L.

  24. Akamai Okole October 2, 2019 4:52 am

    Great Morning All! (As great as can be…)

    Aloha Braddah! Enjoy the rest of the season with Pops, Pomai and erryboddy else.

    Going miss your oio lomi….

    Mahalo Blog Host. Well done, as always.

  25. Loa October 2, 2019 6:45 am

    Aloha Uncle Kekoa

  26. RainbowCliff October 2, 2019 7:22 am

    BEAUTIFUL person with a LOVING soul!

    Kekoa will always be “Tsaiko Nation” who touched lives along the way cheering and rooting for his beloved UH Warriors & Wahines!

    Very blessed to have known him while sharing long lasting memories of his friendship, kindness and generosity. Will miss him greatly but so HONORED he came into my life leaving an indelible impression of “Hawaiian Royalty Greatness”!

    Heaven has gain a true spirited man along with other Tsaiko members that Liz Kauai has eloquently noted.

    May his soul rest in eternal peace as I truly thank him for all his love and support over the years. A WONDERFUL person!

  27. papajoe 2 October 2, 2019 8:28 am

    Mahalo Mr. Tsai for tribute to a great man. All these responses brought tears to my eyes. Kekoa was a great man and I was honored to listen to him talk and share his wisdom, not only about his passion for Warrior football ,but life in general. I’m going to miss him even though I haven’t seen him in awhile as well as all who was touched by this man.
    Aloha Kekoa, a hui hou!
    Papajoe 2
    Oh yea, I hope they have mac nut brittle in Heaven so you can enjoy again.

  28. hilosupaman October 2, 2019 9:29 am

    Great tribute to a great man! He lived Aloha and fought like a Warrior!

  29. Hank October 2, 2019 10:09 am

    E ho’omaha me ka maluhia, Kekoa.
    Na ke Akua e hoʻomaikaʻi iā ʻoe a me kou ʻohana ma ke aloha

  30. Thimas October 2, 2019 10:43 am

    First condolences to the Furtado ohana and Diana, Akua’s blessing on this hale
    To Kekoa my EIS patnah in crime, Rest In Peace, you deserved and earned it. I wlll cherish every memory of our time at tgates, cattle calls, karaokes, maple garden, genjis, vegas along with the other events. As expressed by other, you will be missed …. Aloha Patnah

  31. SteveM October 2, 2019 11:11 am

    I’m away on cruise right now and have limited connectivity, but Kekoa will be placed in my Tsai-ko Hall of Fame Memorial section when I return. Thanks for the memories, Kekoa, and enjoy the best seats in the stadium with the other legendary blog greats!

  32. Thomas aka koakane October 2, 2019 12:14 pm

    Condolences to the Furtado ohana and Diana his queen. Akua bless this hale!
    To Kekoa my EIS patnah in crime, rest peacefully for you earned and deserved it. I will cherish all the tgates, cattle calls, karaokes, maple garden, genjis, various bars, times at your hale and all the other events we made memories.
    As other stated going miss you. Aloha patnah

  33. 10012019abc October 2, 2019 4:18 pm

    I am saddened
    For every crossing
    Came new discoveries
    And on that path
    Many men cross
    For 11 years
    I watched him walk by
    Visceral, and real as it seems
    He was everything that I wasn’t
    He carried himself well
    Always wanting to say hello
    Bringing sunshine to a storm cloud
    But I was indifferent
    I say, now
    I will always remember Kekoa
    With the highest respect
    To his family and friends, blessings

  34. J-FORCE October 2, 2019 6:54 pm

    Always Positive thru the years regardless of the outcome. That’s what i remember about kekoa. Rest in peace Kekoa.

  35. 808warriorfan October 2, 2019 7:44 pm

    A TRUE PATRIOT & WARRIOR … RIP … in a beautiful world healthy again, free of pain, & above all in good hands … keep an eye out for our Rainbow Warriors from the “best seat in the house” … much Aloha to you and your Ohana … God Bless

  36. WarriorMojo October 3, 2019 12:45 am

    Kekoa. I will miss you.

  37. Stephen Tsai October 3, 2019 6:39 am

    New post:

Comments are closed.