Louis Pagan – a man known better as @Louispagan who was a social media pioneer in the Latino community – died Saturday morning at his home in Yonkers, New York.
Yonkers police said his death is still being investigated and would not comment on his cause of death. Pagan leaves behind a wife, Yolanda, and two young daughters.
News of Pagan’s death did not hit social media circles until Tuesday. His funeral is Thursday. His last tweet was a modest 24,334 point score on the popular Temple Run mobile game on February 3.
It’s tempting to want to be remembered. But in the end, is it really about your message and not at all about you? I’ve been blessed to express myself through words.”
- Louis Pagan, 2009 Interview
An IT network manager for Horizon Media, Pagan had an expert level understanding of computers, but his real passion was social media. The Bronx-born New Yorker is remembered by his friends and admirers for his forward thinking on how to tap the limitless potential of social media – blogs, Twitter and Facebook – to empower the Latino community.
Since he first started blogging in 2003, his entrepreneurial spirit has led to the beginning of two Latino social media organizations.
He co-founded Latinos in Social Media, #LATISM, the first major online community on Twitter dedicated to Latino issues. He also was the visionary and co-founder of Hispancize, a for-profit social media company uniting marketers with Latino bloggers.
“Latinos are becoming more engaged in society,” Pagan said in a Fox News Latino interview. “What’s unique about social media is it gives Latinos an opportunity to define themselves and present themselves on how they want to be viewed to the public.”
Before there was a real sense of how to use social media, Pagan is credited for being part of the original small group of Latinos who took to Twitter and Facebook – before there was an app for that.
“I think he saw where it was going in the mainstream, and he saw, just like everyone who sees this space, he had a knack to understand there were a lot of Latinos out there in the world,” Julio Varela, entrepreneur and founder of Latinorebels.com, said. “He was sharp enough to see that it was going to be the future.”
“He made you feel good,” Varela said. “Louis would rather prop someone else up then claim credit for things that he did.”
Pagan described himself on his Twitter handle as a convenient vegetarian, super husband, a dad and a recovering social media superhero and idea man who will write for food.
Lance Rios, a friend and founder of Being Latino, the largest Latino Facebook page, described him as an “introspective, idea man who connected like-minded Latinos.”
“He was a roaring lion online, and a gentle lamb in person,” said Manny Ruiz, chairman of Hispanicize. "He was, in my opinion, the first true community voice…single handily one of the most important community building individuals in social media."
Ruiz met Pagan on Twitter in 2009 and instantly was drawn to his love of entrepreneurship and his intense love for his family. As a matter of fact, it was family that kept him from fully pursuing social media as a career, Ruiz told Fox News Latino.
“He didn’t seek fortune,” Ruiz explained. “But when you do a startup, it requires you to have the ability to not make money for a certain period of time. He didn’t have that luxury. He needed to be the main provider for his household.”
Pagan told a blogger in an interview in 2009, that “Life is about choice, I launched my business to take control over my life.”
“It’s tempting to want to be remembered,” he said in the 2009 blog interview. “But in the end, is it really about your message and not at all about you? I’ve been blessed to express myself through words.”
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL).
Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.