The Americas

Mexico Culture Secretary Rafael Tovar y de Teresa dies

  • In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, The Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y de Teresa enters the hall for a public memorial to Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel, in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Tovar, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at age 62, the Culture Ministry announced. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, The Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y de Teresa enters the hall for a public memorial to Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel, in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Tovar, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at age 62, the Culture Ministry announced. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, The Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y Teresa stands vigil beside an urn containing the ashes of Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel during Gabriel's public memorial in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Tovar, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at age 62, the Culture Ministry announced. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

    In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, The Mexican Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y Teresa stands vigil beside an urn containing the ashes of Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel during Gabriel's public memorial in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Tovar, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 at age 62, the Culture Ministry announced. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)  (The Associated Press)

The Mexican government says Secretary of Culture Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, a diplomat, historian and promoter of the arts, has died. He was 62.

The Culture Ministry says in a statement that Tovar died early Saturday morning and his funeral would be held later in the day. On Thursday it announced that he had been hospitalized for evaluation.

President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed condolences through his official Twitter account. He noted that Tovar was the country's first culture secretary and a passionate promoter of Mexican culture abroad.

Pena Nieto named Tovar culture secretary in December 2015. Prior to that he had been president of the national culture and arts council, which Pena Nieto elevated to a Cabinet-level position.