Saturday, September 02, 2023


NYT obit here. AP obit here. USA Today obit here. New Mexican obit here. Photos of Richardson's life here. Monahan's take

President Biden: 

Bill Richardson wore many weighty titles in his life – Congressman, Governor, Ambassador, Secretary. He seized every chance to serve and met every new challenge with joy, determined to do the most good for his country, his beloved New Mexico, and Americans around the world. 

Few have served our nation in as many capacities or with as much relentlessness, creativity, and good cheer. He will be deeply missed. Bill’s legacy will endure in many places – in New Mexico, which Bill served for seven terms as congressman and two as governor; at the Department of Energy, where he helped strengthen America’s nuclear security; and at the United Nations, where he put his considerable negotiating skills to work advocating for American interests and values on the world stage. 

But perhaps his most lasting legacy will be the work Bill did to free Americans held in some of the most dangerous places on Earth. American pilots captured by North Korea, American workers held by Saddam Hussein, Red Cross workers imprisoned by Sudanese rebels – these are just some of the dozens of people that Bill helped bring home. He’d meet with anyone, fly anywhere, do whatever it took. The multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominations he received are a testament to his ceaseless pursuit of freedom for Americans. So is the profound gratitude that countless families feel today for the former governor who helped reunite them with their loved ones. 

Bill and I crossed paths for the first time decades ago, when he was a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which I served on as Senator. Over the years, I saw firsthand his passion for politics, love for America, and unflagging belief that, with respect and good faith, people can come together across any difference, no matter how vast. He was a patriot and true original, and will not be forgotten. 

Jill and I send our love to his family, including his wife of over 50 years, Barbara.


His innate diplomatic skills made him a success at the U.N., and his roots in the West, and his experience, helped him succeed as Secretary of Energy. Whether in an official or unofficial capacity, he was a masterful and persistent negotiator who helped make our world more secure.


As a member of Congress, a Cabinet member, a Governor, and as an Ambassador, Bill Richardson was one of the most distinguished public servants of our time. He was a tireless diplomat, the type of advocate who brought a glimmer of hope – and in many cases freedom – to those Americans detained abroad under the most trying circumstances. I was grateful for his counsel over the years, and Michelle and I send our love to his wife Barbara and his entire family.


Washington, DC – September 2, 2023 – It is with deep sadness that the Richardson Center for Global Engagement shares the news that former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson passed away in his sleep last night at his summer home in Chatham, MA. Governor Richardson was 75 years old. 

Mickey Bergman, Vice President of the Richardson Center, commented: “Governor Richardson passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. 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. The world has lost a champion for those held unjustly abroad and I have lost a mentor and a dear friend.”

Richardson served as a US Congressman, US Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton, and Governor of New Mexico. However, his enduring legacy is his post-government volunteer work, where his nonprofit foundation worked to free people who were held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. 

Since its founding in 2011, the Center has worked with over 80 families to provide them with guidance and support during the detention of their loved ones and to engage in “fringe diplomacy” to open the doors of negotiation with foreign parties to bring home those detained. Richardson has been nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, including this year, 2023. Bergman added: “Right now our focus is on supporting his family, including his wife Barbara of over 50 years, who was with him when he passed. We will share further information as it becomes available.”

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