Esteban Torres, an eight-term Congressman recognized as a champion for U.S. Latino rights, a labor leader and advocate for the arts, has died at age 91.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Torres –who grew up in East Los Angeles and went to Garfield High School –died of natural causes on Tuesday – two days short of his 92nd birthday.

Torres represented a San Gabriel Valley Congressional district from 1983 to 1999. Prior to that he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris and later served as a White House special assistant for Hispanic Affairs for President Carter.

Torres was an accomplished artist and was one of the founders of LA Plaza de la Cultura in downtown Los Angeles. In 2010, the Los Angeles Unified School District named a new East Los Angeles high school after Torres. In 2020, UCLA awarded him the institution’s highest honor, the UCLA Medal.

Here’s a video from the online ceremony: 

Numerous politicians and civic leaders mourned Torres’ passing on social media Thursday:


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