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Obama saddened by death of RI solicitor Fernandez

December 19, 2010

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—President Barack Obama says he's "shocked and saddened" by the death of former Providence City Solicitor Joe Fernandez, his friend and Harvard Law School classmate.

Fernandez died Saturday after an illness. He was 46. He had run unsuccessfully this year for state attorney general.

In a statement released by the White House on Sunday, Obama calls Fernandez a "dedicated public servant" who "lived the American dream."

Fernandez' wife, Emily Maranjian, also attended Harvard with Obama and is a lawyer in the attorney general's office. The couple have two young daughters.

Fernandez also co-chaired Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in Rhode Island.