Updated January 21, 2019, 09:43
Tony Mendez has become a hero of US history as an agent of the CIA: first true, then in the movies. When Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took hostages, Mendez's big hour struck.
The former CIA agent Tony Mendez, known for having spectacularly saved several US diplomats from Iran, is dead. The US media cited a family message.
The role of Mendez in the rescue operation 40 years ago was illuminated in Hollywood blockbuster Argo (2012). In the film Ben Affleck plays the agent of the CIA and also directs him. "Argo" won the Oscar for best film.
Tony Mendez dead: he had Parkinson's
Mendez reportedly died on Saturday at the age of 78 in a residential residency facility in the state of Maryland. He was suffering from Parkinson's disease.
The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, expressed his condolences through Twitter.
"He was an extremely gifted service officer," wrote Pompeo on Mendez.
This was published after his departure from the United States foreign intelligence service in 1990, several memoirs. In it Mendez also described his role in rescuing six American diplomats from Tehran during the occupation of the American Embassy in 1979. The diplomats had been issued as a Canadian film crew and were therefore able to escape.
Mendez was a "real American hero," wrote Affleck on Twitter.
"He never sought the limelight for his actions, he just tried to serve his country."
Hostages trapped in Iran 444 days
In 1979, Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran to protest against Shah Reza Pahlavi's shootings in the United States.
Unlike the masked diplomats, members of the embassy hostage were released only after 444 days. Because of the embassy's occupation, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Iran. (HAU / dpa)
The American film "Argo" of 2012 focuses on the release of six US diplomats from the hands of Iranian kidnappers in Tehran in 1979. The main actor Ben Affleck has played the CIA agent Tony Mendez and also he directed.