Publisher and cultural icon dies at 51 in Madrid

31st March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Director of Santillana group was also El Pais founder's daughter

31 March 2008

MADRID - After a long battle with cancer, Isabel Polanco, managing director for the Spanish-language publishing group Santillana and daughter of media mogul Jesús de Polanco, Santillana's founder as well as that of EL PAÍS, died in Madrid on Saturday. She was 51 years old and leaves behind a husband and four children.

A prominent cultural icon and champion of the Spanish language, Polanco was closely tied with Grupo PRISA, founded by her father, who himself passed away July 2007.

Isabel held positions such as human resource director for PRISA, and both editor and director of Santillana, before becoming the publisher's general manager in July 2000.

Known for her passion for the arts and the Spanish language, as well as her discretion, ambition and devotion to the written word, Polanco was the long-standing publisher to authors such as the Nobel Prize winning José Saramago and Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

Representatives of Spain's political, cultural and business classes paid their final respects on Saturday to the media icon. Among those attending the wake were Socialist Secretary José Blanco, Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, presidents of the Banesto and BBVA banks, and the authors Saramago, Pérez-Reverte, Manuel Rivas and Clara Sánchez.

"Besides the triumph, power and wealth she attained, Isabel was an extraordinary human being," said Saramago.

Polanco's remains were cremated yesterday at Madrid's Almudena Cemetery.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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