Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at the age of 87, according to a source close to the Garcia Marquez family cited by the AP. His death was later confirmed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The Columbian author was at his Mexico City home this month after infections in his lungs and urinary tract left him in "fragile" health. Garcia Marquez was one of the world's greatest living authors, who was influential as a literary figure and as an outspoken public intellectual.
The Nobel Prize recipient was likely best known around the world for his fictional work in "magical realism." One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera are internationally iconic.When the Nobel Committee gave Garcia Marquez the Literature prize in 1982, they praised 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." When Garcia Marquez accepted the prize, he described Latin America as:
a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”
Garcia Marquez began his career as a journalist in his home country of Columbia. And his work, fiction and non-fiction, often cut deeply into reality. One Hundred Years of Solitude, for instance, played no small part in the dismantling of a powerful Banana corporation, as Rich Cohen wrote at the Daily Beast. His non-fiction book News of a Kidnapping chronicled the kidnappings of several prominent Columbians by the notorious cartel run by Pablo Escobar.
In his later years, Garcia Marquez devoted himself primarily to autobiography and memoir. His last published novel was Memories of My Melancholy Whores, which came out in 2004. In 2010, Random House announced that the writer was working on a new novel called We'll Meet in August, but a publication date was never set for the work, amid rumors of his failing health. It's unclear whether that work will ever be published.
Garcia Marquez is survived by his wife Mercedes and his two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.