By Anica Padilla

DENVER (CBS4) — Denver’s infamous “big blue horse” is officially a teenager. Known to many as “Blucifer,” the 32-foot-tall sculpture with red eyes was installed at Denver International Airport and unveiled on Feb. 11, 2008.

“Blue Mustang” by artist Luis Jimenez, greets arriving visitors at Denver International Airport in this 2009 photo. (credit: George Rose/Getty Images)

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The sculpture, which is actually named “Blue Mustang,” was created by New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez.

Jiménez was killed in 2006, at age 65, when the head of the unfinished sculpture fell on him and severed an artery in his leg. His son — and professional race-car painters — finished the sculpture.

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Jiménez is credited with helping transform the definition of public art in the U.S. with his larger-than-life, debate-provoking fiberglass sculptures.

Known for his colorful and massive sculptures of Mexican cowboys, fiesta dancers and wild mustangs, Jimenez helped open the door for other Mexican-American artists. He was sought out by dozens of cities to create public art and now he’s represented everywhere from a busy walkway at the University of New Mexico to the steps of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

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Anica Padilla