19 Apr 2014

Novelist Garcia Marquez dies

5:57 am on 19 April 2014

Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose novels put magical realism on the literary map, has died at his home in Mexico City.

Garcia Marquez returned home from hospital last week after a bout of pneumonia. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the death on Thursday.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Photo: AFP (file)

Colombia has declared three days of national mourning.

A prolific writer who started as a newspaper reporter, Garcia Marquez, 87, was Latin America's best-known and most beloved author. His masterpiece was the 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, which combines miraculous and supernatural events with the mundane details of everyday life.

The book was an instant success on publication in 1967. It tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family in the fictional village of Macondo, based on the town of Aracataca close to Colombia's Caribbean coast where Garcia Marquez was born on 6 March 1927 and raised by his maternal grandparents, Reuters reports.

In the novel, Garcia Marquez combines miraculous and supernatural events with the details of everyday life and the political realities of Latin America. It sold more than 30 million copies and helped fuel a boom in Latin American fiction. Other works included Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

In 1982, Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, who also won the Nobel Prize and once punched Garcia Marquez during a dispute, said his works brought wide knowledge and prestige to the literature of their shared language.

Former US President Bill Clinton, who was a friend of Garcia Marquez, said he was always amazed by the author's unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought and emotional honesty.

Chilean novelist Isabel Allende said Garcia Marquez's gave her the motivation and freedom to launch into writing because in his books she found her own family, her country, and characters familiar to her.