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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP Rep. Díaz Collazo dies of cancer at age 52

Rep. José Aníbal Díaz Collazo

By John McPhaul

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez reacted on Monday to the death of Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. José Aníbal Díaz Collazo at the age of 52.

“Today, the House of Representatives loses an extraordinary legislator, a supportive friend, a man of high moral values, a simple, humble and big-hearted human being. Although we are overwhelmed by a sense of sadness for the departure of our colleague, we want to honor his life and his legacy, since in his passage through the Legislature he distinguished himself by presenting legislation to do justice to public servants and municipal employees, as well as to advance various causes of the towns of Cayey and Cidra, that he so worthily represented,” the House speaker said. “To the Díaz Collazo family, our condolences and a most sincere embrace in these times of affliction. Aníbal gave the battle and that warrior spirit is what we will always remember. Rest in peace, dear friend.”

Hernández Montañez added that previously scheduled activities such as the special session in honor of Hispanics, the presenting of the Don Luis Vigoreaux House of Representatives Scholarship and the caucus meeting of the majority delegation, were canceled until further notice.

PDP House Majority Leader Ángel Matos García, meanwhile, said of Díaz Collazo’s death: “With great pain I receive the sad news of the death of good friend José Aníbal Díaz, representative of District 29, which makes up the municipalities of Cayey and Cidra. Aníbal was a first-rate public servant and an extraordinary human being. His sensitivity, humility and honesty were the great attributes of Aníbal’s life. In addition, he was a great warrior who fought until the last day against this terrible disease that is cancer. Friend, at the Capitol we are going to miss you. My condolences and a hug to all his family.”

Likewise, Cayey Mayor Rolando Ortiz Velázquez said “Cayey mourns the passing of an extraordinary human being who dedicated body and soul to his family and his community as a good Puerto Rican.”

“Aníbal Díaz Collazo, a son of Barrio Jájome Bajo, now rests in peace. He was a brother in struggles and solidarity, and his life was dedicated to selfless service for others,” the mayor said. “All our people of Cayey, and I know that our brothers in Cidra, also mourn his departure. We ask the Creator to give him eternal rest and his family comfort.”

Díaz Collazo was born on Feb. 16, 1971 in Caguas. From his earliest days he settled in the Jájome Community of Cayey. He completed his secondary studies at the Miguel Meléndez Muñoz High School in that municipality.

He earned an associate degree in electronic engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Puerto Rico, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management, which he obtained with the distinction of magna laude.

In Cayey’s Office of Federal Programs he served as inspector of the Section 8 program for five years. Later, he moved to the Planning Office as a project inspector, and was in charge of the Citizens’ Petitions Division. Over more than a decade he learned and identified the existing possibilities for a better quality of life for cayeyanos.

Díaz Collazo went on to direct Cayey’s Civil Works Infrastructure Construction Office, and in recent years he directed the Municipal Public Works Office there.

Díaz Collazo joined the House of Representatives on Nov. 16, 2015, and during the current session was chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Works.

As a leader of his community, he was an organizer of the Guatibiri Cultural Festival of Jájome Bajo in Cayey for more than 10 years.

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