Original Code Talker Oliver, 88, dies

CAMP VERDE (AP) - A member of an elite group of Marines who developed a code based on their native language during World War II has died.

Lloyd Oliver's death Wednesday means that only one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers survives.

Oliver's nephew, Lawrence, says his uncle died at a hospice center in the Phoenix suburb of Avondale, where he had been staying for about three weeks. He was 88 years old.

Hundreds of Navajos followed in their footsteps of the original 29, sending thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war's ultimate outcome.

Navajo President Ben Shelly has ordered flags lowered across the reservation through Monday.