Emilio Delgado, who played the beloved character Luis on “Sesame Street” for over four decades, died Thursday at the age of 81.
According to the New York Post, the death was confirmed by a representative for Sesame Workshop.
“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,” a statement from the rep read.
“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.”
Delgado’s wife Carole said he’d been battling blood cancer and had passed away in hospice care.
He died in New York City surrounded by his family.
Delgado’s best known role was on “Sesame Street” as the singing owner of the neighborhood’s “Fix-It Shop.” He made his first appearance on the show in 1971.
In 1988, his character married Maria, played by Sonia Manzano.
In addition to his work on “Sesame Street,” Delgado performed in live theater and did voice-over work.
Delgado said in a 2020 interview that he had worked in a real-life fix-it shop and viewed his character as a chance to improve how Latinos were portrayed on TV.
“I’d been trying all my professional life to be somewhere I can change that, whether I was talking about it or trying to get into a project that showed Latinos in a good light,” he said. “That’s why ‘Sesame Street’ was such a good thing. For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings.
“We weren’t dope addicts. We weren’t maids or prostitutes, which were the way we were being shown in television in film,” he continued.
“Here, on ‘Sesame Street,’ there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans.”
He appeared on “Sesame Street” until 2016. Delgado’s other TV credits included appearances on “Quincy M.E.,” “Falcon Crest,” “Lou Grant,” “Law & Order,” “Person of Interest” and “House of Cards.”