Sea turtle carries ashes of "Guardian of the Gulf" to Gulf of Mexico

A sea turtle named Picasso carries the ashes of Tony Amos, 80, a renowned oceanographer, on it's back as it is released back into the Gulf of Mexico following a memorial service, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Port Aransas, Texas. 

Eric Gay / AP

A rescued green sea turtle named Picasso was released back into the Gulf of Mexico, carrying the ashes of a self-taught Texas oceanographer who founded the rehabilitation center that nursed it back to health. 

Hundreds attended the Saturday night ceremony in Port Aransas, on a stretch of beached named in honor of Tony Amos. 

Amos, who was known as "The Guardian of the Gulf" died Sept. 4 after a year and half long battle with pancreatic cancer, CBS affiliate KZTV reports.  Amos had just turned 80 a couple of days before he died.

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Tony Amos, known as the "Guardian and the Gulf."

KZTV

Amos' wife, son and other relatives sprinkled ashes on the turtle's shell, then watched it crawl and flap slowly into the waves. 

Amos died just four days after Hurricane Harvey damaged the his beloved Animal Rehabilitation Keep for sea turtles and aquatic birds he founded nearly four decades ago.

Some of those gathered choked back tears. Others cried "Bye Tony!" as the turtle finally swam away.