"Tomato King" dies in Houston of cancer

February 6, 2009 11:12:33 AM PST
A man known who was the first migrant living in the U.S. to win a Mexican mayorship -- has died of cancer. Andres Bermudez was 58.

El Sol de Zacatecas reports Bermudez died at a Houston hospital, where he was receiving treatment since December.

The National Action Party says Bermudez died yesterday. He'd battled stomach cancer since March.

Bermudez crossed into the U.S. illegally in 1973. He 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 rich.

Bermudez in 2001 was elected mayor of his hometown of Jerez, in Zacatecas.

He was ousted because he had not met residency requirements. He won the mayorship again in 2004 after Zacatecas legislators changed state laws to let part-time residents seek public office.

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