Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize winner whose novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America’s passion, superstition, violence and inequality, died in Mexico City yeasterday around midday.
One of the greatest writers since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, Garcia Marquez was popular and respected literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
“His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works — among them “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” ”Love in the Time of Cholera” and “Autumn of the Patriarch” — outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible,” The Huffington Post writes.
His epic novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” that saw the world 1967 sold more than 50 million copies and was tranlated into more than 25 languages.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” was “the first novel in which Latin Americans recognized themselves, that defined them, celebrated their passion, their intensity, their spirituality and superstition, their grand propensity for failure,” biographer Gerald Martin told reporters.
When he accepted the Nobel prize in 1982, Garcia Marquez 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.”
Alogside with Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe, Garcia Marquez was also an early practitioner of the literary nonfiction that would become known as New Journalism.
He became an elder statesman of Latin American journalism, with magisterial works of narrative non-fiction that included the “Story of A Shipwrecked Sailor,” the tale of a seaman lost on a life raft for 10 days.
Back in 2012 he 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature was reported to be suffering from dementia.
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.
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.