Bill Richardson, former New Mexico governor and renowned diplomat, dies at 75

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Former U.N. Ambassador and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who helped negotiate release of detained Americans, has died.

He was 75.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which he founded, said in a statement Saturday that he died in his sleep at his home in Chatham, Massachusetts.

“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,” Mickey Bergman, Vice President of the Richardson Center, said in the statement.  

Throughout his long political career, Richardson served as a U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton. He served two terms as the governor of New Mexico.

Michelle Lujan Grisham, the current governor of New Mexico, said on social media, “He was a visionary who saw the potential of our great state before so many others did.”

He has been nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize and was nominated again in 2023. 

In 2011, Richardson founded the Richardson Center for Global Engagement to negotiate with foreign parties to bring home those detained abroad. The center said they have worked with over 80 families. Neda Sharghi, chair of the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, said in a statement, “Governor Richardson has been a fierce advocate for human rights and the effort to bring home people unjustly held overseas.”

Richardson’s wife of over 50 years, Barbara, was by his side when he died, the center said.

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