The Colombian writer was hospitalized in March for an infection in his lungs and urinary tract and had been in his Mexico City home recovering since being discharged. A family member confirmed the sad news of Marquez’s passing to the Associated Press.
Marquez is credited with helping create and define “magical realism” as a literary genre. He constructed the fanciful genre by injecting fantastical elements into otherwise realistic scenes. In addition to his work in novels, he was also a poet, short story writer, screen writer, and journalist who affectionately went by the nickname “Gabo.”
In 1982, Marquez became the first Colombian and only the fourth Latin American author to win the Nobel Prize. When he accepted the prestigious award, he called Latin America 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.”
His novels are widely revered, with American writer William Kennedy going as far as to call One Hundred Years of Solitude “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” Another renowned writer, Mexico’s Carlos Fuente, was also an admirer, touting Marquez as ”the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes,” the author of Don Quixote.
Marquez is survived by his wife, Mercedes Barcha, and two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo. In honor of his memory, here are 10 of his most poignant quotes:
“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
“Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.”
“There is always something left to love.”
“A true friend is the one who holds your hand and touches your heart.”
“A lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth.”
“The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”
“Crazy people are not crazy if one accepts their reasoning.”
“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.”
“I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.”