Bill Richardson, a Democrat who served as governor of New Mexico for two terms and then as ambassador to the UN, has passed away. He was 75.
His foundation, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, released a statement on Saturday saying he passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Chatham, Massachusetts.
“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. The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend,” said Mickey Bergman, vice president of the Richardson Center.
“Right now our focus is on supporting his family, including his wife Barbara of over 50 years, who was with him when he passed. We will share further information as it becomes available,” he added.
In addition to his responsibilities as governor and U.N. ambassador, Richardson served as a member of Congress and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton.
His post-government work with his non-profit foundation to free political prisoners and hostages in other nations has earned him the most notoriety.
Since its inception in 2011, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement has assisted over 80 million families who were looking for answers while their loved ones were being held in foreign prisons. The organization claimed that Richardson used “fringe diplomacy” to get foreign parties to the bargaining table and return detainees home.
In May, Fox News Digital revealed Richardson’s involvement in securing Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison. Before, in November, Richardson had aided in getting American journalist Danny Fenster released from a Burmese prison.
This is not the first time Richardson has been considered for the Nobel Peace Prize because of his efforts.
Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., issued a statement calling Richardson a “giant in public service and government.”
“In his post-government career, he was trusted to handle some of the most sensitive diplomatic crises, and he did so with great success. Here in New Mexico, we will always remember him as our Governor. He never stopped fighting for the state he called home,” Luján said.
“Governor Richardson was a close friend who held the same House seat that I was elected to. He knew how to get things done, and he worked closely with my late father in the Legislature.
“His passing is incredibly heartbreaking for so many New Mexicans who knew and respected him. He leaves behind a legacy that will never be matched, and one that New Mexicans will always take pride in. My prayers are with Barbara, the Richardson family, and all New Mexicans. His memory will always be a blessing.”