HAVANA TIMES — Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize for Literature 1982 and author of the monumental “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, one of the most translated and read novels in the world, died today at age 87 in Mexico City, reported dpa news.
“Yes, García Marquez has died,” Roberto Perea an official of the National Council for Culture and Arts of Mexico told the press.
García Marquez’s health had deteriorated in late March when he was hospitalized for a lung infection. Although doctors allowed him to return home after eight days, he was in serious condition with oxygen therapy.
The death of García Marquez, the father of the literary genre known as “magical realism” leaves a huge void. “Gabo” was one of last great survivors of the 1960s and 70s “boom” of Latin American literature, leaving only Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, also a Nobel Prize winner.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” (1967 ) is one of the most important novels of Spanish American literature and the most representative of “magical realism”. The Book about the Buendía family dynasty has been translated into over 25 languages ?.
García Marquez was born on March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, a city in the northern Colombian department of Magdalena. His childhood experiences in this banana plantation town were inspiration for his work. The village of Macondo in “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is reminiscent of that place.
García Marquez is survived by his wife of a lifetime, Mercedes Barcha, daughter of pharmacist, and his sons Rodrigo, a film director, and Gonzalo, who is a graphic designer and painter.
Gabo, as he was also called, was a journalist, screenwriter, short story writer and novelist, socialist sympathizer and close friend of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
Marquez had lived for several decades in Mexico. He arrived in 1961 from the United States where he worked as a correspondent for the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina. While he alternated with cities like Barcelona, Havana, Bogotá and Paris, he established his main residence in Mexico City.
The extensive work of Garcia Marquez includes books like “No One Writes to the Colonel” (1958), “Big Mama’s Funeral” (1962), “Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor” (1970), “Chronicle of a Death Foretold “(1981) and “The General in His Labyrinth “(1989) and “Live to Tell “(2002), a memoir.
“The worst thing that can happen to a man who has no vocation for literary success, or is from a continent that is not used to having successful writers, is to publish a novel that sells like sausages,” once said Garcia Marquez.
“That is my case. I refused to become a spectacle, I hate television, literary conferences, lectures and intellectual life.”
During his childhood, Marquez was under the care of his maternal grandparents, Colonel Nicolas Ricardo Marquez Mejía and Tranquilina Iguaran Cotes, who also inspired characters in his books .
García Márquez began his studies in a boarding school in Barranquilla and spent part of high school at a Jesuit school, where he had the opportunity to publish his first poems in the school magazine “Youth”.
Later, from the warm Barranquilla he was sent to finish his studies at the Liceo Nacional in the cold Andes Mountain town of Zipaquirá, located near Bogotá.
He began studying law in Bogotá and then continued in Cartagena, but did not finish. As a college student he took his first steps in journalism with “El Universal” of Cartagena in 1948.
His first novel, “Leaf Storm ,” published in 1955 and the last was “Memories of My Melancholy Whores”, 2004. The novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972.
In 1974 Garcia Marquez, along with leftwing Colombian intellectuals and journalists, founded the magazine “Alternative”, which was published until 1980 and was a landmark in the history of journalism of the Colombia opposition.
Gabo, his brother Jaime García Marquez and Jaime Abello Banfi created in 1994 the New Latin American Journalism Foundation, located in the Caribbean city of Cartagena, which aims to train young reporters and stimulate new forms of journalism.
The popularity of his work led Garcia Marquez to make friends with several world leaders, including Castro and former US President Bill Clinton. His relationship with the Cuban leader earned him criticism in the literary and political world.
Garcia Marquez ‘s work has inspired films such as “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” (1987) by Francesco Rosi, and “Love in the Time of Cholera” (2007) from Mike Newell, as well as songwriting including “Macondo” by Mexican Celso Piña.
“I don’t know what time it all happened,” he said in 2007 at the Fourth Congress of the Spanish Language in Cartagena when he celebrated its 80 years, 40 of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and 25 as a Nobel winner.
“I only know that since I was 17 and until this morning, I have not done anything different than get up early every day, sit in front of a keyboard, to fill a blank page or an empty computer screen, with the only mission to write a story not yet told by anyone to make life happier life for a nonexistent reader.”