Argentine documentary film-maker David Blaustein died of a stroke last Monday at the age of 68, the Culture Ministry confirmed.
"We profoundly regret the death of David 'Coco' Blaustein, one of the main touchstones for political cinema in our country," tweeted the Ministry, describing his death as "an irreparable loss for Argentine culture."
The previous Wednesday the film-maker had suffered a stroke, for which he was rushed to hospital, his press representative Bucky Butkovic revealed.
Cazadores de utopías (1996), with eyewitness accounts of militants from the 1970s guerrilla grouping Montoneros, was the first of a dozen documentaries which he filmed or produced.
"We say farewell with immense grief to our dear friend David 'Coco' Blaustein, director, film-maker and political militant for life, justice, memory and the future. A comrade of unparalleled generosity and warmth," wrote the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, whose struggle to find the babies of the disappeared stolen during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship was portrayed in the documentary Botín de guerra (2000).
In a tweet lamenting the passing of his colleague, film-maker Juan José Campanella, director of the award-winning El secreto de sus ojos, described him as "a real mensch, such pleasant company, a lover and defender of Argentine cinema, an enormous maker of documentaries but, above all, a gentleman."
The Documentalistas de Argentina (DOCA) grouping described Blaustein, who hosted Manivela, a radio programme dedicated to Latin American cinema, as "indispensable."
"History says farewell to somebody who chose to tell the forbidden, the silence, the resistance and the memory of popular battles. Justice found a language, a perspective and a banner in his cinema of the real," tweeted HIJOS (grouping children of the missing).
He had just finished co-directing Se va a acabar with Andrés Cedrón, a 115-minute documentary picking up the testimonials of workers who risked their lives to press trade union claims at the height of the dictatorship.
Hacer patria (2006), Fragmentos rebelados (2009) and Porotos de soja (2009) also feature prominently in the his filmography.