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(CNN) β€” Fleming Begaye Sr., a member of the top-secret Navajo Code Talker program that developed an unbreakable code language during World War II, has died, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. Begaye was 97.

Begaye served as a Navajo Code Talker in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945 and fought in the Battle of Tarawa and the Battle of Tinian, the Great Navajo Nation noted in a statement. He spent one year in a naval hospital for service injuries.

Begaye was born in 1921 in Red Valley, Arizona, and resided in Chinle, Arizona, when he died Friday, the Great Navajo Nation says. His cause of death was not released.
“We offer our heartfelt appreciation to the family for sharing his life with us,” Nez said via Twitter on Friday. “May the Creator bless you and your family with strength and comfort.”

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