By Amy Russo
Tony Mendez, the CIA spy who led the rescue of six American hostages from Iran, inspiring the Oscar-winning film “Argo,” died Saturday.
He was 78.
The news was announced on Twitter by Mendez’s literary agent, Christy Fletcher, who called it “a crushing loss for his family, friends and our world.”
Attached to her tweet was a statement from his family confirming the cause of death to have been Parkinson’s disease with which he had been living for more than 10 years.
“He was surrounded with love from his family and will be sorely missed,” the family said, adding that Mendez had just turned in a manuscript for a new book.
“The last thing he and his wife, Joanna Mendez, did was get their new book to their publisher and he died feeling he had completed writing the stories that he wanted to be told.”
Mendez was widely acclaimed following the 2012 release of “Argo” starring Ben Affleck, who plays the spook in the adaptation of the 1980 mission that brought home several U.S. diplomats who were being held within the embassy in Tehran.
Affleck was among those who offered their condolences on social media following the news, praising Mendez as “a true American hero” and “a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness.”