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Legendary East L.A. math teacher Jaime Escalante dies at 79 [Updated]

Photo: Actor Edward James Olmos, left, compares notes with teacher Jaime Escalante during the filming of Legendary Garfield High School math teacher Jaime Escalante, who was immortalized in the film "Stand and Deliver," died Tuesday afternoon after battling cancer.

Escalante died at 2:27 p.m. at the home of his son, Jaime Jr., in Roseville, Calif., said actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Escalante in the film.

"He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren," said Olmos, who drove Escalante from a Reno hospital Monday night to Roseville.

Olmos said he was notified by the family several minutes after Escalante died.

Escalante, 79, helped turn the math program at the East Los Angeles high school into one of the top programs in the nation.

[Updated at 5:50 p.m.: “He did so much for so many people. And he did it with such grace and dignity,” Olmos said.

Escalante is survived by his wife, Fabiola; his sons, Fernando and Jaime Jr.; and six grandchildren.

Read Times staff writer Elaine Woo's full obituary: Jaime Escalante dies at 79; math teacher who challenged East L.A. students to 'Stand and Deliver']

– Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Actor Edward James Olmos, left, compares notes with teacher Jaime Escalante during the filming of "Stand And Deliver" in 1988. Credit: (Warner Bros. / Associated Press)