late patron of Gatsby's library

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Senior Member
français - France
Could you please tell me the meaning of "late" in the following excerpt from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, chapter 3?

A man in a long duster had dismounted from the wreck and now stood in the middle of the road looking from the car to the tire and from the tire to the observers in a pleasant puzzled way.
“See!” he explained. “It went in the ditch.”
The fact was infinitely astonishing to him—and I recognized first the unusual quality of wonder and then the man—it was the late patron of Gatsby’s library.

Thank you.
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