Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Winning Novelist, Passes Away At 87

Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most important novelists of the 20th Century who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, has died at age 87. The Colombian-born author had been hospitalized for pneumonia-like symptoms in Mexico, but was discharged about a week ago.

Family members confirmed the death of Gabriel García Márquez Thursday, at his home in Mexico City.

Gabriel García Márquez Wrote Masterwork 100 Years Of Solitude In 1967

Born in Colombia, Marquez wrote resonating fiction about life in Latin America in such bestselling and universally acclaimed novels as Love In The Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and his masterpiece, 100 Years of Solitude. The 1967 classic has sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide, translated into at least 25 languages.

The American novelist William Kennedy called that signature Gabriel García Márquez work, “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”

Was Master Of The “Magical Realism” Literary Genre

Known affectionately throughout Latin America by his nickname “Gabo,” Marquez inspired a generation of Latin American writers and became the acknowledged master of the literary genre known as “magical realism,” in which he blended tales of everyday life with elements of fantasy against a version of Latin America that existed as much in his own imagination as in the real world.

Gabriel García Márquez said that he chose the magical realism genre because the decades of poverty and oppression in his native region rendered the actual events of daily existence unbelievable.

“Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination,” he once said. “For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”

Márquez Did Not Find Success Until Age Of 40

While Gabriel García Márquez was acknowledged as a literary genius worldwide, in Latin Americ, his influence was immeasurable, and he was looked upon not only the region’s greatest contemporary writers, but as a figure who towered over all of history.

“Being a contemporary of Gabo was like living in the time of Homer,” a fellow Colombian author, Hector Abad Faciolince, said. “In a mythic and poetic way, he explained our origins. His verbal imagination and creative force were astonishing.”

But unlike many contemporary novelists, Gabriel García Márquez was not born into the literary life, nor was writing simply a passion he could afford to indulge thanks to family wealth or a comfortable university teaching position. In fact, Márquez barely scraped out a living as a journalist until he was 40, when he finished writing 100 Years Of Solitude.

When he finished what would soon be recognized as one of the greatest literary works of the century, Gabriel García Márquez was said to be so broke that he had to mail the manuscript off to his publisher in two installments because he didn’t have enough money to buy all of the postage at once.