Prominent local business owner and Portuguese icon Fernando Garcia has passed away.

Friends confirmed Garcia's passing this morning.

Longtime friend of Garcia and former New Bedford Mayor Fred Kalisz tells WBSM News Garcia was known for standing up for the Portuguese community, and fighting for several issues including keeping the New Bedford Portuguese consulate open.

Garcia was known as "your friend in the business" at Fall River Ford. Garcia sold the business several years ago.

Governor Deval Patrick appointed Garcia to the Bristol Community College Board of Trustees as Chairman in 2012.

Kalisz says Garcia had been battling cancer for 12 years. He was 67 years old.

Final arrangements are being made.