Hector Rolotti, the founder and owner of the Novecento chain of restaurants, is dead at 47.
According to a statement issued by Novecento Group, Rolotti, along with his wife Mora and a group of about 30 people, was in India on a spiritual retreat when a member of the party fell into the Ganges River. Six men jumped into the raging, polluted waters and pulled the victim to safety. Five men made it out, but Rolotti was swept away. Authorities found his body six days later.
In 1991, Rolotti opened his first Novecento in New York City and expanded the concept to Argentina and Uruguay before opening a branch in Miami Beach in 2003. Though that location closed, a Brickell outpost continues to be a thriving café, with Rolotti a frequent face there. The restaurant also opened an annual pop-up at the Sony Open Tennis Tournament, currently playing in Key Biscayne.
Rolotti's body will be cremated in India.
Novecento Group issued the following statement:
Hector Rolotti Dies in India
After six days of intensive searching in the Ganges River, authorities have found the lifeless body of Hector Rolotti. His remains will be repatriated soon.
Miami, March 22, 2014 - It is with great sadness that Novecento Group informs that the body of founding parter Hector Rolotti was found in the Ganges River at 2:00 a.m. this morning/12:00 p.m. in India. The body was found intact due to the low temperatures of the Ganges this time of year. He was found by a group of locals who then alerted the authorities and search team.
On Monday March 17th, 47 year old Hector and his wife Mora, together with a group of friends who were mostly from Miami, were visiting the northern areas of the Ganges River, 26 km east of the city of Rishikesh, where they were to spend 10 days on a spiritual meditation retreat.
The group of more than 30 people were standing at the banks of Ganges River when they heard one of the members calling for help after being pulled in by the current of the river . Six men from the group jumped in to assist including Hector. Five of the men made it back to land safely; however, Hector was taken in further by the current and had been lost for the past six days.
His remains are expected to be cremated in India in the presence of a few relatives and close friends. They will then be brought to Miami, La Cumbre (Córdoba) and Bariloche, where his family and a large number of friends reside.
Novecento deeply appreciates the many expressions of solidarity, concern and affection received since the event occured. We ask everyone to pray for him and his family during this difficult time.
We will keep in our hearts all memories of his infinite generosity, his deep sense of friendship and concern for all who were lucky enough to have been around him. He was so passionate in helping others through numerous humanitarian causes.
Hector was endeared by many in Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Miami and New York - all the places where he lived and opened a Novecento Restaurant. Bariloche was also a special place in his life being the home of his beloved wife Mora, where he spent many family vacations and he had planned to retire.
He was a tireless entrepreneur and family man, always concerned about his children, wife and parents. Hector's great achievement with Novecento was much more than a restaurant chain, it is a meeting point for friends and communities. Rolotti's clients often became friends. He was always seen waving and talking to everyone at each table. Hector's example as a person, husband, father and friend - as well as his eternal smile -- will live on forever.