MEXICO CITY: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate whose intoxicating novels and short stories exposed millions outside Latin America to its passions, superstition, violence and social inequality, died at home in Mexico City on Thursday. He was 87.
Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, the Colombian-born Garcia Marquez achieved 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 epic 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude sold more than 50 million copies in more than 25 languages.
His stories made him literature’s best-known practitioner of magical realism, the fictional blending of the everyday with fantastical elements such as a boy born with a pig’s tail and a man trailed by a cloud of yellow butterflies.
Biographer Gerald Martin said 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.”
When he accepted the Nobel prize for literature 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.”