The founder and chef of popular Hudson Valley restaurants, one that claims to serve "the best food in the Hudson Valley," died at the age of 47.

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Eleazar “Chay” Ortiz, 47 of Poughkeepsie passed away suddenly at his home on March 2, according to his obituary.

Ortiz was the founder and chef of Mole Mole Restaurant in Poughkeepsie. Mole Mole's Facebook states the eatery servers "the best Mexican food in the Hudson Valley."

A cause of death wasn't released.

"Poughkeepsie has lost a very big staple. (He )was a very strong influence on not just the Spanish community but everyone," Frankie Flowers wrote on Facebook. "This man has given so many opportunities and has created jobs for a vast amount of people throughout the Hudson Valley. Chay has donated and volunteered countless hours never forgetting where he came from. Even as he grew he stayed humble and brought his friend and family along for the journey."

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Ortiz recently opened up Cafe Mole on Mill Street in Poughkeepsie, at the site of the old Cafe Aurora.

"I recently saw him working around the clock at his new restaurant in the old Cafe Arora," Flowers added. "The restaurant is one of many in the Hudson Valley that serves amazing authentic food."

Visitation will on Tuesday, March 9 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wm. G. Miller & Son FH, Inc on Hooker Avenue in Poughkeepsie. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, March 10, 10 a.m. in St. Mary's Church on Church St in Poughkeepsie.

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