Sad news indeed. His novel for young adults, Parrot in the Oven, Mi vida, is among my favorites. It is heavy with theme and symbolism, and what an honest and harsh and beautiful story. Read it! Again and again. It's that good.
For a great personal write up, read Rigoberto Gonzalez's piece on his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625332529#!/note.php?note_id=10150180808038056&id=23653221870.