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Juan Valdez Actor Carlos Castañeda of Colombia Has Died

Carlos Castañeda, a fourth-generation coffee farmer and actor known for portraying the iconic Colombian coffee figure Juan Valdez, died late last week.

The Colombian national coffee federation (FNC), shared news of Castañeda’s unexpected death through its social media channels, thanking the actor for his 20 years of service personifying Colombian coffee growers and representing the country’s industry abroad.


In a post to X (formerly Twitter), FNC President Germán Bahamón remembered Castañeda as a kindhearted friend who represented Colombian coffee growers with humility and grace.

The FNC announced that Castañeda died at the age of 58 following heart surgery at a clinic in Medellín. The oldest of 10 siblings and father of three children, Castañeda was from San Bartolo, located in the municipality of Andes in Antioquia, where he grew up farming coffee.

He has portrayed the fictional character of Juan Valdez for the past two decades, a position he took over from Carlos Sánchez, who portrayed Valdez for nearly four decades and died in 2019 at the age of 83.

The FNC introduced the fictional character of Juan Valdez, a Colombian coffee farmer who often appears with his mule Conchita, in 1958. The character has historically been used to convey a sense of pride related to the distinct qualities of Colombian-grown coffees, while also representing the Juan Valdez coffee and cafe brands.

Castañeda represented the FNC and Colombian coffees throughout the world at industry events, including at this month’s SCA Expo in Chicago, where his iconic smile was captured in selfie after selfie with fans.

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