Beloved street artist ‘Coronado Sandman’ dies

SAN DIEGO - Alberto "Coronado Sandman" Avila, known for creating sand art throughout Coronado, has died, community members announced Thursday.

"Coronado has lost an icon. He was always there to greet me as I drove back home from work when I first moved here. He was such a fun part of getting up and walking the island to see what beautiful art he had bestowed upon us. Thanks for all the smiles and waves, Coronado Sandman Avila!" Holidais Moreira shared in the Coronado Happenings Facebook group.

"So sad to hear the #CoronadoSandman has passed 😭💔 His grandson shared the news this a.m. My heart goes out to him and the rest of his family. The Sandman blessed our community with his positive spirit & unique artwork. Despite various health issues he continued to hit the streets daily & spread joy. He had great faith in God and told me he had a guardian angel. I can bet he's in the heavens already working on some beautiful artwork but he will be sorely missed down here," Kandolite Carson posted.

The 67-year-old man was diagnosed with liver cancer and had been in hospice care in his home state of Texas, according to a member of the Facebook group.

Community members said they have enjoyed finding Avila between the Coronado Shores and the Hotel del Coronado, waving and sweeping his magic.

"People would say they had a bad day or they were tired and there he'd be, standing on the street corner at 3rd and Orange, waving and smiling with his sand art," Coronado Happenings Facebook administrator Charles Crehore had posted in January 2017.

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