CAMP VERDE, Ariz. – 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 at age 88 on Wednesday means that only one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers survives.

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.