NEW IBERIA, La. (KPEL) -- George Rodrigue, the acclaimed artist best known for his paintings of Blue Dog, has reportedly died.

According to Rodrigue's family, he "passed away after a long battle with cancer."

Rodrigue reached international fame in the early 1990s with his painting of his now famous Blue Dog. He remained very active in arts education until his death, a statement from the family read.

"While we mourn the loss of a great man, we also celebrate his rich life and legacy," his family said. "George will remain a presence in the hearts of the people who got to know him and his work will continue to inspire for generations to come."

According to the biography on his website, Rodrigue began painting in the third grade when he was bedridden with polio. His depictions of Blue Dog "transformed the image of the original Cajun werewolf dog — the loup-garou — into an international pop icon."

Gov. Bobby Jindal released the following statement:

Supriya and I were saddened to learn of the passing this evening of a friend and one of Louisiana’s favorite sons, George Rodrigue. His work as an artist is iconic and uniquely Louisiana. George’s Blue Dog not only became symbolic of his work, but it became a symbol for Louisiana. This earned him the ability to paint the likes of world leaders including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

His work made him an ambassador for our state and a renowned artist, but he never forgot his Louisiana roots. Indeed, there are countless stories and examples of his charity work to help the people of Louisiana. Without question, his paintings will live on, but his legacy will be much more than paint on a canvas.

Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco released the following statement to KATC TV-3:

We are saddened to learn of the death of our dear friend George Rodrigue and we offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Wendy and his sons Jacques and Andre.

Louisiana lost a magnificent artist who loved and chronicled the lives of our people. He gained national and international attention when he painted his now very famous Blue Dog.

George Rodrigue was a personal and close friend of ours going back to the years when Raymond taught him at Catholic High School of New Iberia.

George and his wife, Wendy, were instrumental in lending several pieces of his art for display at the Governor's Mansion. They also found other professional Louisiana artists who contributed to our mansion art while I was governor.

His legacy is reflected in the inherent beauty and messages of his unique body of work. We will miss him dearly.


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