Joshua Panas & Christina Rodriguez
Updated: June 30, 2020 06:00 PM
Created: June 30, 2020 11:59 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- KOB 4 has confirmed that author Rudolfo Anaya has died.
Anaya is best known for his novel, Bless Me, Ultima, and considered one of the most revered authors of Chicano literature.
Anaya's niece, Belinda Henry, told KOB 4 her uncle had been in declining health and died early Sunday at his home in Albuquerque, where he was surrounded by close relatives. He was 82 years old.
“He loved his family more than any accomplishment,” Henry said. “He was an exceptionally intelligent and gifted author and certainly one of the most generous persons with his time. His influence has been felt worldwide."
Anaya was born in New Mexico in 1937. He graduated from Albuquerque High School and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of New Mexico. He would later return to the university to teach creative writing until his retirement.
Anaya was presented with the 2015 National Humanities Medal by President Obama for "pioneering stories of the American Southwest."
A public memorial will be announced at a future date.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham provided the following statement upon learning of Anaya's passing:
“I am deeply saddened today to hear of the death of Rudolfo Anaya, one of New Mexico’s greatest artists, a seminal figure in our state’s rich literary history. Through his indelible stories, Rudolfo Anaya, perhaps better than any other author, truly captured what it means to be a New Mexican, what it means to be born here, grow up here and live here. His life’s work amounts to an incredible contribution to the great culture and fabric of our state – not only through his prodigious literary contributions but through his decades as an educator at the University of New Mexico.
“I am especially grateful to have had the opportunity to sign legislation creating “Rudolfo Anaya I Love to Read Day,” highlighting children’s literary education, and to have been able to celebrate that commemoration with his family. While his passing is a great loss for New Mexico, his life and his work was an incredible gift, not just to New Mexico but to the world. His words and stories will be treasured forever. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”
Deeply saddened that NM has lost our legendary storyteller. A while back, I got a kind note from Rudolfo. It was so thoughtful and timely. Even in today’s context, it’s still a powerful message:— Mayor Tim Keller (@MayorKeller) June 30, 2020
“Let’s continue helping the least fortunate among us. We are all one family.” pic.twitter.com/KM5YhEUnmL
Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School posted the following message to their website:
It is with a sad heart that the Rudolfo Anaya school community mourns the passing of Mr. Anaya. He was a strong supporter of our students and was proud of their accomplishments. Our students and staff have benefitted from his generosity of books, artifacts, and donations in support of our school. Mr. Anaya valued literacy, education, and the New Mexico culture and was the epitome of goodness. He will be missed. Our school community will work to ensure that his legacy lives on through our students. Our condolences go out to Mr. Anaya's family and friends during this time.
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