Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, former special envoy based in the United States for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, passed away in the early hours of Monday morning in San Francisco at the age of 69. His family members were reported to be with him.
Earlier this week, Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was reported to have been in critical condition in a San Francisco hospital, where he was being treated for liver cancer. He is survived by his wife, Dawa Chokyi, and their six children and grand children.
A passionate advocate for the Tibetan people, universal human rights, and global democratic reform, Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was a co-founder of the Tibetan Youth Congress, and also acted as foreign minister in the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile. Between 2002 and 2010, he led the Tibetan delegation through nine rounds of high-level dialogue with the Chinese government in attempts to resolve the Tibet issue.
He has been described as legendary for his diplomacy with the US, successfully swaying Washington to be more sympathetic toward the Tibetan cause, and paving the way for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to meet four sitting US presidents.
Lodi Gyari Rinpoche was born in 1949 in Nyarong in eastern Tibet, where he received a traditional monastic education as the tulku of Khenchen Jampal Dewé Nyima from Lumorap Monastery. In 1959, he fled with his family to in India following the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Lodi Gyari in critical condition at US hospital (Tibet Sun)