Gabriel García Márquez, one of the giant’s of contemporary literature, passed away yesterday at home in Mexico City. He was 87. The author had been struggling with lymphatic cancer since 1999.
Gabo, as he was widely and affectionately known, was strongly identified with magical realism. His best known novels were One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) but he was prolific in various forms though when he won the Nobel Prize in 1982 it was “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” From a lengthy piece in The Guardian:
The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish language literature and magical realism with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, died at the age of 87. He had been admitted to hospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.
Matching commercial success with critical acclaim, García Márquez became a standard-bearer for Latin American letters, establishing a route for negotiations between guerillas and the Colombian government, building a friendship with Fidel Castro and maintaining a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years.
Barack Obama said the world had lost “one of its greatest visionary writers”, adding that he cherished an inscribed copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, presented to him by the author on a visit to Mexico. “I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo’s work will live on for generations to come.”
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said yesterday via Twitter: “A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. Solidarity and condolences to his wife and family … Such giants never die.”
We wrote about the author’s path to literary greatness on his birthday last year. You can see that piece here.