Navajo Code Talker Alfred K. Newman dead at 94

Alfred K. Newman, one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers, died at the age of 94 on Sunday in New Mexico.

Newman, who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II by helping to create an uncrackable code, died at a nursing home in Bloomfield, New Mexico.

“Navajo Code Talker Alfred Newman was a hero, and he stood amongst giants,” tribal President Russell Begaye told the Arizona Republic. “We will be forever grateful for his contributions and bravery, as well as that of each and every one of our Navajo Code Talkers. They are national treasures.”

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Newman was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

Newman had attended a school where rules prohibited students from speaking in Dine, the language that ended up being one of the tool the U.S. used to defeat Japan, according to the Republic.

The death leaves eight surviving code talkers, the Republic reported.

During World War II, Newman served from 1943-45 in the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment and 3rd Marine Division and saw duty at Bougainville Island, Guam, Iwo Jima, Kwajalein Atoll, Enewetak Atoll, New Georgia and New Caledonia.

The Marines shared news of his passing Tuesday, writing on Twitter:

"Navajo Code Talker Alfred K. Newman passed away at 94 years old this past Sunday. Newman served with 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division during WWII, including Iwo Jima, Guam, and other island campaigns.

Semper Fi, Marine."

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Newman is survived by his wife of 69 years, Betsy. They had five children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Funeral services are pending.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.