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11th Mar 2022

Sesame Street’s Emilio Delgado passes away aged 81

Delgado made huge strides for the Mexican-American community.

Emilio Delgado, who played Luis on Sesame Street for 45 years, has passed away. He was 81 years old.

In a statement given to TMZ, Emilio’s wife Carole said that he was surrounded by family when he died at home. He had been diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2020.

A statement for the beloved children’s show was given to PEOPLE.

It read: “A beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years, his warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations.

“At the forefront of representation, Emilio proudly laid claim to the ‘record for the longest-running role for a Mexican-American in a TV series.’ We are so grateful he shared his talents with us and with the world.”

Mr Delgado was born in 1940, and spent the first few years of his life living in Mexicali, Mexico.

Before joining the cast of Sesame Street, Delgado appeared in the first ever Mexican-American soap opera Canción de la Raza in 1968.

He was a beloved member of the Sesame Street cast for over 45 years, playing the role of Luis Rodriguez, the Fix-It Shop owner from 1971 until 2016, albeit with a brief hiatus.

Delgado also appeared in a number of other TV shows, including Hawaii Five-0, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, House of Cards and The Get Down.

As well as being an actor, Delgado was an advocate for social and racial justice. He protested against the Vietnam War and fought for United Farm Workers and for Chicano rights.

He was also a board member on the Bayard Rustin Centre for Social Justice. The group has since paid tribute to Delgado online.

They wrote: “We are heartbroken by the loss of our beloved friend & @RustinCenter Board Member Emilio Delgado @EmilioDelgado58. We send our love to his wife Carole & his family which truly included us all. He will be missed but his spirit, energy, & kindness remains with us ‘¡Pa’lante!”