Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, died Saturday December 10, the Culture Ministry announced. He was 62.
Funeral services were planned for later in the day, the ministry said in a statement. On Thursday December 8, it announced that he had been hospitalized for evaluation.
President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed condolences through his official Twitter account, calling Tovar “a passionate and tireless promoter of Mexico and its culture in the world.”
He also noted that Tovar was the country’s first culture secretary.
Peña Nieto named Tovar to the newly created Cabinet-level post in December 2015. Prior to that he had been president of the national culture and arts council.
Tovar served two stints as head of the council, from 1992 to 1999 and again from 2012 to 2015. He was also director of Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and ambassador to Italy from 2001 to 2007.