Maria Sierra, the acclaimed Cuban roller who built a second career in the United States at the famed iconic El Titan de Bronze factory in Little Havana has passed away. She was 70 years old.

Sierra’s career spanned six decades. She started out as an apprentice at Cuba’s Fabrica de Tabacos El Laguito, which at the time was managed by the late Avelino Lara. Lara was the first director of that factory. In 1966 at El Laguito, Lara handled projects such as the launch of Cohiba in 1966, and the first singularly branded Davidoff of Geneva in 1968. During her tenure at El Laguito, Sierra learned the art of rolling cigars and mastered the difficult skill of rolling the thin ring gauge cigars. Sierra retired in 1998, and over a decade later she would relocate to the United States. She was then hired by El Titan de Bronze, owned by Sandy Cobas. Starting in 2012, she was selected to be the exclusive roller of every La Palina Goldie produced. Sierra remained in that role until her retirement in 2017.

Maris Sierra (Left) with La Palina Cigars owner Bill Paley (Right) – Photo Credit: La Palina Cigars

El Titan de Bronze issued a statement, “We at El Titan de Bronze are saddened to hear of the passing of our dear Maria Sierra. Maria was legendary, showcasing her incredible skills and talent throughout her distinguished career, both in Cuba and here with us. Cigar enthusiasts from all over the world came to see her work her craft for the exclusive Goldie series for La Palina Cigars. We were blessed to have called her one of our own. We at El Titan will miss her incredibly her legend will live on forever. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family.”

La Palina Cigars owner Bill Paley also issued a statement, “Maria was a cigar icon and the architect and sole roller of The Goldie, the crown Jewel of the La Palina Cigar company. Maria will be greatly missed.”

Photo Credit: Cigar Coop, except where noted