Bill Richardson, former Democratic governor of New Mexico and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has passed away at the age of 75.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, an organization he established, confirmed his death on Saturday, revealing he died peacefully in his sleep at his residence in Chatham, Massachusetts.
Vice president of the Richardson Center, Mickey Bergman, said, “Governor Richardson passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. He lived his entire life in the service of others—including both his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free people held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. There was no person that Governor Richardson would not speak with if it held the promise of returning a person to freedom. The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend.”
Bergman continued, “Right now our focus is on supporting his family, including his wife Barbara of over 50 years, who was with him when he passed. We will share further information as it becomes available.”
Richardson’s political journey included serving as a U.S. congressman and secretary of energy under the Clinton administration. Yet, his most notable achievements came after his time in government. He established the Richardson Center for Global Engagement in 2011, a foundation that has since assisted over 80 million families, offering them support while their family members were detained in foreign lands. The Center highlighted Richardson’s unique approach to “fringe diplomacy,” which involved bringing foreign entities to the negotiation table to secure the release of those detained.
His relentless efforts in diplomacy and negotiations garnered him several Nobel Peace Prize nominations, including one for this year. Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico praised Richardson’s unparalleled contributions.
“Governor Richardson was a close friend who held the same House seat that I was elected to. He knew how to get things done, and he worked closely with my late father in the Legislature. His passing is incredibly heartbreaking for so many New Mexicans who knew and respected him. He leaves behind a legacy that will never be matched, and one that New Mexicans will always take pride in. My prayers are with Barbara, the Richardson family, and all New Mexicans. His memory will always be a blessing,” Luján said.
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