Former Archbishop Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, known as "the cardinal of Guatemala's peace," died Monday from an intestinal blockage, the Catholic Church said. He was 80.

Quezada Toruño died in a private hospital in the southern portion of this capital.

The prelate was one of the driving forces behind the peace that was signed in Guatemala in 1996 and which put an end to the country's bloody 36-year-old armed conflict.

Quezada Toruño, who was born March 8, 1932, in Guatemala City, graduated with a degree in theology from the University of Innsbruck in Austria and earned a doctorate in canon law in 1962 from The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Upon his return to Guatemala, he was ordained a priest on Sept. 21, 1956, and served in the Metropolitan Curia as well as lecturing at different academic centers in the capital.

On April 5, 1972, he was named bishop of Gadiaufala and auxiliary bishop of Zacapa and Chiquimula, the diocese where on Feb. 16, 1980, he was named bishop.

In 1986, he was named prelate of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas and between 1988 and 1992 he served as president of the Bishops Conference of Guatemala.

During that period, Quezada Toruño played a decisive role as the promoter of the dialogue between the government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity, or URNG, guerrillas.

Quezada Toruño presided over the National Reconciliation Commission, which sponsored the peace process from 1987 to 1993.

In 2001, he was elected metropolitan archbishop and primate of Guatemala and on Oct. 21, 2003, he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Quezada left the office of archbishop on Oct. 2, 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation and appointed in his place Oscar Julio Vian, who took possession of the post on Dec. 4, 2010, in a ceremony at the Metropolitan Cathedral. EFE