Literary giant and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87.
Márquez's death was confirmed to various media outlets by close friends and family Thursday afternoon. The author had suffered several years of declining health following a cancer diagnosis in 1999. (Via CBS)
Born in 1927, Márquez was raised by his grandparents in the town of in Aracataca, Colombia. He began his writing career as a journalist before turning to fiction with the novella "Leaf Storm." (Via The Guardian)
Márquez's most famous novel by far is "One Hundred Years of Solitude." The novel was a definitive work in the genre of magical realism, which confuses the border between the real and the supernatural. (Via HarperCollins Publishers)
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" cemented Márquez's place as one of the most important authors of the twentieth century. His work especially resonated throughout Latin America, where he was affectionately known as "Gabo."
In 1982, Márquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Gabo used his acceptance speech to speak about the difficulties Latin American literature faced when trying to communicate to a Western audience. "Our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude."
Márquez did not shy away from politics, and his close friendship with Fidel Castro was the subject of a huge controversy. U.S. officials branded Márquez "subversive" and denied him a visa for many years. (Via CNN)
Politicians mourned the author's death Thursday. Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos tweeted, "A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time." And President Obama added in a statement, "The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers."
Márquez is survived by his wife Mercedes Barcha and his two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.