Literary celebrity Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87, hospitalized in Mexico

Nobel laureate criticized for frienship with Fidel Castro is in a hospital in Mexico


Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez gets ready to autograph one of his books in 2010. He began to suffer from dementia, after treatment form lymphatic cancer in 1999. He died April 17 in Mexico City.

Literary celebrity Gabriel Garcia Marquez was hospitalized Thursday in Mexico City.

Health officials said Garcia-Marquez, 87, was responding to a course of antibiotics for lung and urinary tract infections. He was admitted with dehydration to the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán.

On March 6, Garcia Marquez celebrated his 87th birthday among friends. He had cake and the yellow roses he often mentioned in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. The novel has sold some 50 million copies in more than 25 languages.

The 1982 Nobel laureate has lived in Mexico for about 30 years. His house is in an upper-class neighborhood in the south of Mexico City. He and his wife of 55 years Mercedes Barcha, 82, also known as Gaba, have two sons. Film director Rodrigo Garcia Barcha is a Harvard University grad. And designer  Gonzalo Garcia Barcha lives in Paris.

For decades, exiled Cubans in Miami criticized him for his friendship with Fidel Castro. A connection that helped Garcia Marquez to volunteer as facilitator in negotiations between the Colombian government and the socialist guerrillas.

Garcia Marquez was often welcomed to stay in a mansion in Havana. And the novelist once told a reporter from the Spanish newspaper el Pais that he sent his manuscripts to Castro before his publisher for decades.

Friendship between literary celebrity and Fidel Castro

Gabo, as he is affectionately known, is the son of a small town pharmacist. After dropping out of law school at the National University of Colombia, he started his literary career with typewriters working for newspapers in Barranquilla, Cartagena and in Bogotá.

After publishing a nonfictional story accusing the Colombian Navy of negligence, El Espectador sent him to work as a foreign correspondent. He reported from Rome, Paris, New York, Barcelona and Caracas.

In Paris, the legend of Macondo was born on 1955 with Leaf StormHis most popular novels are One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera. After his lymphatic cancer diagnosis in 1999, he published the 579-page To Live to Tell It.

He underwent chemotherapy in a hospital in Los Angeles and returned to his home in Mexico City. But the treatment changed him. The author's brother Jaime Garcia Marquez told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that Gabo suffered from senial dementia.

"When we talk to him, we worry about his health," his brother said in 2012. "But we always end up feeling very happy because we still have him here alive."

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