FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A former CIA technical operations officer who helped rescue six U.S. diplomats from Iran in 1980 and was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the film “Argo,” has died. He was 78.

A family statement and his literary agent confirmed that Antonio “Tony” Mendez died Saturday at an assisted-living center in Frederick, Maryland. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

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Specializing in covert operations, Mendez helped devise the plan under which six diplomats who were in hiding were disguised as a Canadian film crew so they could board a flight and escape the country amid the Iran hostage crisis.

“Argo” won the 2013 Oscar for best picture.

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His family says he will be buried in a private ceremony at the family graveyard in Nevada.

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