Originally published Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 12:36p.m.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in New Mexico at age 94.

Navajo Nation officials say Alfred K. Newman died Jan. 13 at a nursing home in Bloomfield.

“Navajo Code Talker Alfred Newman was a hero, and he stood amongst giants,” said former Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “We will be forever grateful for his contributions and bravery, as well as that of each and every one of our Navajo Code Talkers. They are national treasures.”

Newman was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

“On the battlefields of the Pacific Theater, our language proved unbreakable,” Begaye said. “It was critical in protecting the lives of American soldiers, and to the success of the United States in World War II.”

During World War II, Newman served from 1943-45 in the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment and 3rd Marine Division and saw duty at Bougainville Island, Guam, Iwo Jima, Kwajalein Atoll, Enewetak Atoll, New Georgia and New Caledonia.

Newman was born in Rehoboth, New Mexico and is Naanesht'ézhi Dine'é born for Tsi'naajinii. He is survived by his wife Betsy Eleanor. Together they were married for 69 years and had five children: Alfred Jr., Marvin, Cherylin, Donovan and Kevin and 13 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President contributed to this story.

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