A report from the Associated Press.
Alan Diaz, whose widely published photograph of a terrified 6-year-old Cuban immigrant boy named Elian Gonzalez earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, died on Tuesday. He was 71.
Mr. Diaz’s daughter, Aillette Rodriguez-Diaz, said the cause was not immediately known.
Mr. Diaz had been freelancing for The A.P. in November 1999 when a boater found Elian floating in an inner tube in the waters off Fort Lauderdale.
The boy and more than a dozen others, including his mother, had fled Cuba in a small aluminum boat, which sunk after its motor failed. His mother and most of the others died. Only Elian and two others survived, floating at sea until they were rescued.
Elian’s relatives in the Little Havana section of Miami took the boy in, and a politically charged international custody battle began involving them and the boy’s father in Cuba and the Cuban and American governments.
Mr. Diaz spent months chatting with Elian’s relatives and neighbors, earning their trust by respecting an order by the boy’s uncle not to speak to the child.
Because of those relationships, Mr. Diaz was the only photographer to capture the moment when immigration agents ended the dispute with a raid before dawn on the day before Easter in 2000.
The photo shows an armed agent reaching out to a frightened Elian in the arms of a protector, the two backed into a closet in the uncle’s home, seconds before the boy was whisked away so that he could be returned to Cuba.
Each side in the dispute used the photograph to argue that the other was brutal and heartless.
It was awarded the Pulitzer for breaking news photography.
Elian was returned to Cuba and, at 24, lives there today.
The A.P. hired Mr. Diaz as a staff photographer two months after the raid, beginning a 17-year-career with the wire service. His other assignments included covering the Florida recount during the 2000 presidential election, the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, and the mass killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
Mr. Diaz was born on May 15, 1947, in New York City to Cuban parents and spent his adolescence in Cuba, where he studied photography with Alberto Korda, whose 1960 portrait of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara became one of the most reproduced images in history.
He moved to Miami in 1978, taught school and began shooting for Cuban-American organizations and publications.
Mr. Diaz’s wife, Martha, died nearly two years ago. A complete list of survivors was not available.