Beloved NM author Rudolfo Anaya passes away at 82

Adrian Gomez
Albuquerque Journal
President Barack Obama shakes hands with author Rudolfo Anaya after presenting him with the 2015 National Humanities Medal during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

ALBUQUERQUE - Rudolfo Anaya, the acclaimed New Mexico author and godfather of Chicano literature, passed away Sunday morning.

He was 82.

Anaya moved to Albuquerque with his family when he was about 16. But he was born in Pastura and raised in Santa Rosa. His mother's family lived in Puerto de Luna, 11 miles southeast of Santa Rosa. He has fond memories of those towns and those early years.

Anaya is best known for his 1972 classic, "Bless Me, Ultima."

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The novel, required reading at many New Mexico schools for years, was awarded the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol literary prize in 1972 for bringing Chicano literature to the forefront of American culture. The book also drew its share of controversy from critics.

Belinda Henry, Anaya's niece, said Anaya's health was declining in previous years.

"His body was tired, but he fought it," she said. "My uncle, he's a man that was my father. He was my world. I was fortunate enough to tell him that I was so grateful for him because he mentored me and guided me. He made people feel good through his words and actions. He loved New Mexico."

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