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Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, dead at 75

 September 3, 2023

Bill Richardson, who served two terms as the Democratic governor of New Mexico and was later appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has passed away at the age of 75.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, his namesake institution, announced on Saturday that the former governor died in his sleep at his residence in Chatham, Massachusetts, as Fox News reported.

A Life Dedicated to Diplomacy and Global Engagement

Mickey Bergman, vice president of the Richardson Center, commented on the late governor's service-driven life, stating, "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."

Bergman added, "The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend."

The colleague further remarked the Richardson Center's primary concern now is to stand with his family during this time, especially his wife, Barbara, who has been by his side for more than half a century.

In addition to his roles as a governor and U.N. ambassador, Richardson served as a U.S. congressman and was tapped to helm the Energy Department during President Bill Clinton's tenure in the White House.

After his government service, he made a significant impact by collaborating with his nonprofit foundation.

The foundation's mission was to rescue individuals who were held as political prisoners or hostages in other nations.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, founded in 2011, has collaborated with over 80 million families, offering them guidance and support while their family members faced detention in foreign territories.

The organization highlighted Richardson's unique approach to "fringe diplomacy," which he employed to usher foreign factions to the discussion table, ensuring the safe return of detained individuals.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Richardson played a crucial role in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian authorities.

This wasn't an isolated incident; he had successfully assisted in securing the freedom of American journalist Danny Fenster from a prison in Myanmar last year.

Such relentless efforts led to multiple nominations for Richardson to receive the revered Nobel Peace Prize, including one this year.

Tributes Pour In

Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, paid his tributes, identifying Richardson as a "giant in public service and government."

Luján stated that, after Richardson's tenure in government, he had become a reliable figure in managing delicate diplomatic issues, achieving notable successes.

He further highlighted that New Mexicans hold a special place in their hearts for Richardson, always remembering him for his unwavering commitment as their Governor.

He concluded by emphasizing the unparalleled legacy Richardson leaves behind, a source of pride for the entire state.