BOGOTA – Admiral Leonardo Santamaria, who was commander of the Colombian navy, died on Friday in Bogota of natural causes, the government announced.
“With deep sadness we mourn the passing of the commander of the Colombian navy, Leonardo Santamaria. We extend our condolences to his family and to the navy,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on his Twitter account.
Adm. Santamaria was named Colombian navy commander in July 2015 by President Santos to replace Adm. Hernando Wills.
Santamaria’s death was also lamented by Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas.
“I deeply regret the death of Adm. Leonardo Santamaria, commander of the Colombian navy. All my support for his family,” Villegas said on the Twitter account of his office.
Santamaria, born in the northern Colombian city of Barranquilla, entered the Admiral Padilla Naval Cadet School in 1977 and graduated as Corvette Lieutenant in 1981.
Throughout his career he held a number of high positions including Chief of Naval Operations at the Higher War School, naval attache to the UK and permanent representative of Colombia with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
During his naval career, Santamaria was decorated with the Antonio Nariño Order of Military Merit in the grade of Knight Commander and Officer, and the Admiral Padilla Order of Naval Merit in the grade of Knight Commander and Officer, among others.
He was also a member of the Andean Committee of Aquatic Transport Authorities (Caata) and of the Operational Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities (Rocran).