Former Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Bill Richardson, the former two-term New Mexico governor and veteran diplomat, has died at 75.
Richardson served as ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary under President Bill Clinton.
Last month, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize over his work to free political prisoners.
Bill Richardson, the former two-term New Mexico governor and US Ambassador to the United Nations who just last month was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to free political prisoners, died on Friday in his sleep at his summer home in Massachusetts. He was 75.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement confirmed the veteran diplomat’s death.
“He lived his entire life in the service of others — including both his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free people held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. There was no person that Governor Richardson would not speak with if it held the promise of returning a person to freedom,” Mickey Bergman, the vice president of the Richardson Center, said in a statement.
“The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend,” Bergman added.
Richardson served in the US House of Representatives from 1983 to 1997 before being tapped to become the UN ambassador from 1997 to 1998. He then joined then-President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, serving as Energy secretary from 1998 to 2001.
In 2002, Richardson was elected to the New Mexico governorship and won reelection in a landslide in 2006.
Richardson ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 that was ultimately won by then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
After leaving the governorship in 2011, Richardson leaned into his diplomatic roots, working to tackle international conflicts.
In August 2023, Richardson was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to secure freedom for political hostages in foreign countries. He played a leading role in the negotiations that helped broker the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russia last year.
“We feel lucky to have been introduced to the Richardson Center and will forever be grateful for them. I am confident that without their experience, commitment, and passion for the work to reunite families, I would not be home today,” wrote Griner and her wife, Cherelle Griner, last month.