Scandinavian Tobacco Group has announced the passing of Hector Vanegas, the company’s manufacturing manager for its operations at STG Estelí in Nicaragua.

“Hector was a true gentleman,” said Régis Broersma, president of General Cigar, via a press release. “He was smart and kind and delighted people with his warm personality and soft-spoken voice. A man of confidence, he was incredibly talented in his job and earned the respect of people throughout the cigar industry. We are better for having had the experience of knowing him and we will always remember him fondly,” he added.

Vanegas, 50, joined General Cigar in November 2005 as the plant manager of the HATSA factory, now STG Danlí, in Honduras.

He was born in León, Nicaragua, and attended Zamorano, the Pan-American School of Agriculture in Honduras, where he graduated first in his class, according to a press release. He obtained a Master of Science degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University, where he was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship.

While the press release from STG did not identify a cause of death, a post on Instagram by Sean Williams, the brand manager for Cohiba, indicated that Vanegas died due to coronavirus/COVID-19.

Vanegas is survived by his wife Xiomara Torrez, his daughter Mariel, and his son Gabriel.

“Our thoughts are with his family and as a company, we will support Hector’s family through these tough times,” said Broersma.

Update (June 3, 2020) — The company has started a GoFundMe page to help support the family of Hector Vanegas.

Image courtesy of Scandinavian Tobacco Group.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.