Andres Bermúdez, inventor, Mexican lawmaker
MEXICO CITY - Andrés Bermúdez, who made a fortune as a "tomato king" and history by becoming the first migrant living in the United States to win a mayoral election in Mexico, has died of cancer. He was 58.
Mr. Bermúdez, a flamboyant lawmaker for President Felipe Calderón's National Action Party, or PAN, died Thursday at a hospital in Houston. He had battled stomach cancer since March.
Mr. Bermúdez first crossed illegally into the United States in 1973, hidden in a car trunk with his pregnant wife. He then worked his way from field hand to labor contractor in California. He invented a tomato-planting machine that earned him the nickname "Tomato King" and made him a fortune.
Mr. Bermúdez made history in 2001 when he was elected mayor of his hometown of Jerez, in the northern state of Zacatecas. He was stripped of that victory by the Federal Electoral Institute because he had not met residency requirements, but won the office again in 2004 after Zacatecas legislators changed state laws to let part-time residents seek public office.
Mr. Bermúdez was known for his gruff-talking style.