Famed local sculptor Michael Garman, whose art gallery has been a fixture in Old Colorado City for decades, has died, according to a message from his family. He was 83.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Michael Garman, a true icon of the Pikes Peak region,” the family announced on Facebook.

“We ask for your thoughts, prayers, and privacy for the family as they grieve the passing of a beloved father and grandfather.”

The pride and pain of Michael Garman, Colorado Springs' famed sculptor

Michael Garman in Peru during his hitchiking days through South and Central America in the late 1950s. (Courtesy Michael Garman)

Garman died Friday evening, according to the message. A cause of death was not given, but the artist had been in poor health in recent years.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1938, Garman’s passion for sculpting went back to early childhood, when the 8-year-old entertained himself by making little men out of pipe cleaners. He later honed his talent at the School of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile.

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Sculptor Michael Garman, 79, shows how he played with figures made from pipe cleaners as a child Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, in Old Colorado City home above his gallery. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Garman came to Colorado Springs in 1971. In 1985, he opened Magic Town, a 3,000 square-foot miniaturized neighborhood with hand-made buildings and sidewalk scenes. The Michael Garman Gallery and Magic Town Museum, on West Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City, boasts more than 500 Garman sculptures.

MICHAEL GARMAN MAGIC TOWN

Michael Garman's Magic Town Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The artist turned over the operation of his company, Michael Garman Productions, to his daughter, Vanessa, when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2008.

The museum and gallery announced the facility would close over the weekend to commemorate Garman’s passing.

Condolences flooded social media upon the news of the artist’s death.

“This saddens me and I hope that his art never goes away,” wrote Chris Luper. “I have several of his sculptures.”

“Condolences to the family,” wrote Tracy Rogers. “He was truly a brilliant artist.”

Services are pending, the family said.

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