José Orlando Padrón, the founder of the Padrón Cigar brand, died early this morning. The legendary cigarmaker, who had run Padrón Cigars Inc. for 53 years, was surrounded by his family. He was 91 years old.
“He died peacefully, he didn’t suffer,” said his son Jorge, who has worked alongside his father since he was a young man.
“He was a true icon,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Cigar Aficionado magazine. “A much loved leader and devoted family man who was uncompromising in his passion for cigars.”
Born in 1926 in Consolación del Sur, in Pinar del Río, Cuba, José Orlando Padrón was raised on his family’s tobacco farm. “My grandmother had a little table in her house where she would make cigars for my grandfather, and for the entire family,” Padrón said during an interview with Cigar Aficionado in 2014. “Two things they were never without—wine and cigars. As a young boy, I saw that in my house. My grandfather every day would wake up, and every time I saw him he was looking at a cigar. Rolling it in his hand. Always touching tobacco.”