LOS ANGELES - Jaime Escalante, a math teacher who inspired underprivileged Los Angeles students and whose story was made into the movie "Stand and Deliver," died on Tuesday from cancer, local media reported. He was 79.
Born in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, Escalante was credited with turning Garfield High School in Hispanic-heavy East Los Angeles into a centre for successful math and science students through his enthusiasm and use of unorthodox teaching methods.
Actor Edward James Olmos was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Escalante in the 1988 Hollywood film.
Olmos and some of the film cast members held an early March fundraiser to help Escalante's family pay for treatment at a cancer centre in the neighbouring state of Nevada, local media said.
Escalante died in the town of Roseville, California, "surrounded by his children and grandchildren," Olmos told The Los Angeles Times. Olmos told the paper that he drove Escalante from the Nevada to Roseville late Monday.
Escalante "did so much for so many people. And he did it with such grace and dignity," Olmos told the newspaper.