José Esteban Muñoz has died at 46. The queer theorist and NYU professor passed away on Wednesday. The Cuban-born intellectual taught at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His first book, "Disdentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics," remains a highly influential text. Muñoz' death was announced by the University of Minnesota Press and later confirmed by NYU. The news came as a sad shock to many students.

Born in Cuba in 1967, José Esteban Muñoz immigrated to the United States with his parents at a young age. He earned a PhD from Duke University under Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Professor Barbara Browning, a colleague and friend at NYU, told Hyperallergenic that "José did so many beautiful things, he was so good at seeing beauty. He loved his work and his students more than anyone I've ever known...[We] will honor him for the rest of our lives." 

Muñoz has written about artists, performers, and cultural figures including Vaginal Davis, Nao Bustamante,Carmelita Tropicana, Isaac Julien, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Kevin Aviance, James Schuyler, and Andy Warhol. He died in New York City .