Emilio Delgado, the beloved actor who portrayed Luis on "Sesame Street" has passed away at age 81.
Delgado was a staple to "Sesame Street" portraying the character of Luis for over 40 years.
A Sesame Street representative commented on Delgado's passing to the NY Post:
"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.”
Delgado's wife, Carole Delgado, told TMZ that Emilio had been battling multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, for a few years. He passed away surrounded by family at his New York home.
Delago portrayed Luis - a non-stereotypical Mexican character on "Sesame Street" at a time when there were not many depictions like this one on TV. On the show, he was the singing-owner of the "Fix-It Shop".
It was reported that Delgado was working up until his death in a theater play of "Quixote Nuevo".
When Emilio was hired to portray the character of Luis on "Sesame Street", he saw it as an opportunity to improve the representation of Latinos on TV. He said:
“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 told the Chronicle. “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,”
“Here, on ‘Sesame Street,’ there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans.”