Gabriel Garcia Marquez Suffers from Dementia, Writer’s Brother Confirms

Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature is reported to be suffering from dementia at age 85.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has had to stop writing as he is suffering from dementia, his family have said. Photo: Ricardo Timão/Flickr

Marquez’s younger brother said he has tried to keep the news in a secret, not because there is anything people should not know “but because it’s his life and he’s always tried to protect it.”

“The fact is there are lots of comments. Some are true but they’re always filled with morbid (details). Sometimes you get the sense they’d rather he were dead, as if his death were some great news,” Jaime Garcia Marquez said.

He revealed to students at a lecture in the city of Cartagena that his Nobel Prize-winning brother calls him frequently to ask basic questions.

“He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him,” he said, adding that he had been forced to stop writing altogether.

According to BBC, in Columbia there have been rumours about ironic author’s memory problems. Jaime Garcia Marquez, his younger brother, is the first family member to speak publicly about it.

Colombian digital magazine Kien & Kue reported last month that Gabriel Garcia had trouble recognizing the voices of his close friends on the phone.

Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, a novelist and journalist, and a close friend of Gabo said in an interview to the magazine how the 85 year-old author has trouble recognizing his closest friends, writes The Huffington Post.

“Last time we spoke he would forget certain things,” recalled Mendoza. “He would ask me ‘when did you get here? Where are you staying’ and he kept repeating things. Instead, we went out to lunch and we reminisced about events that happened 30 or 40 years ago and his memory was as sharp as ever.”

Invited to talk about his relationship with Gabo, Jaime Marquez Jaime Garcia Marquez, who heads the Ibero-American New Journalism Foundation, founded by his brother in 1994 in Cartagena, said he could not hold back from talking about his illness anymore.

“He is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time,” he said. “Dementia runs in our family and he’s now suffering the ravages prematurely due to the cancer that put him almost on the verge of death.”

Marquez’ mother and brother both died of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, writes Columbia Reports.

Jaime continued: “Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defences and cells and accelerated the process. But he still has the humour, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had.”

The well-known author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has sold more than 30 million copies, now lives in Mexico and has not written any books since his last book, Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, which received mixed reviews.

However, the famous writer was last reported to be working on a new novel in 2010. But the book, We’ll Meet in August, has not yet been released, despite his editor’s announcement that it was nearly finished.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the first writer to write in magical realism, his novels include Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and the The General in His Labyrinth.

Jaime Marquez said he regrets that his world-famous brother can’t write the second part of his autobiography, Vivir para contarla (Living to Tell the Tale), nor any other work.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll be possible, but I hope I’m wrong,” Jaime said.

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