Humanist, writer and economist, José Luis Sampedro has passed away at the age of 96 in his home in Madrid. Well-known in Spain, he jumped generational barriers to become an icon to the Spanish youth and to the 15M movement.
The Spanish economist and writer advocated an economy "more humane, more caring, able to help develop the dignity of peoples."
Sampedro is survived by his widow, Olga Lucas, whom he married in 2003.
He passed away quietly in his home in Madrid on April 7, wishing to die as he had lived, without fanfare, without noise, without acts of homage. According to his widow, Olga Lucas, Sampedro's express wish was to "go simply and without advertising." His widow told the media that he faced "death calmly." He was cremated this morning as per his wishes.
Sampedro will be well-remembered as one of the leading intellectuals in recent years.
Another rebel nonagenarian, Stéphane Hessel, the author of "Time for Outrage!" had said of Sampedro (who wrote the prologue to the Spanish edition of the book):
"There are two kinds of economists: those who work to make the rich richer and those who work to make the poor less poor."
The book was primarily about the 15M movement and is a political argument that invites a peaceful rebellion against the banks, the press and social inequalities. Regrettably, the author, Hessel, also passed away recently at the age of 95 on February 27, 2013.
Son of a wealthy family, born in Barcelona on February 1, 1917, Sampedro lived in Tangier (Morocco) up until the age of 13, then moved to Soria and then Aranjuez.
In 1936, with the outbreak of the Civil War he was working in Santander, and was mobilized by the Republican Army. A year later he left to join the rebel side, to which he considered himself more akin.
He said of those days, "I became a Jesuit at age 9 and anarchist at 19."
He drew on his war experience to write the novel "The Shadow of the Day (Alfaguara)" in 1945 and which was published in the nineties.
He continued as both an author and an economist and became an Academician of the Real Academia Española in1990 and was the recipient of both the Order of Arts and Letters of Spain and the Spanish Literature National Prize (2011).
Throughout his life Sampedro criticized the moral and social decline of the Western world, neoliberalism and wild capitalism.