Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez dies at 87

Gabriel García Márquez Colombian author and Nobel laureate Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez, who propagated the idea of magical realism in literature with his Spanish language novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, died at the age of 87.

He had been admitted to the hospital in Mexico City on 3 April for treatment for pneumonia.

One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves together the misfortunes of a family for over seven generations, was an instant bestseller, with the first edition of 8,000 copies selling out within a week of its publication in 1967.

Hailed by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as "perhaps the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote of Cervantes", One Hundred Years of Solitude went on to win literary prizes in Italy, France, Venezuela and beyond, appearing in more than 30 languages and selling more than 30 million copies around the world.

Born in a small town near the northern coast of Colombia on 6 March 1927, García Márquez was brought up by his grandparents for the first nine years of his life.

He began working as a journalist while studying law in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.

He wrote a series of articles relating the ordeal of a Colombian sailor that sparked controversy and saw him travel to Europe as a foreign correspondent in 1955.

He also published his first work of fiction, the short novel Leaf Storm, that year.

After the publication of The Evil Hour in 1962, García Márquez found himself at an impasse. But, after five years, he hit upon the "right tone", a style "based on the way my grandmother used to tell her stories".

And, in 1975, the author assembled the Autumn of the Patriarch, which he called a "poem on the solitude of power" - the story of the tyrannical leader of an unnamed Caribbean nation from a collage of dictators such as Franco, Perón, and Pinilla, followed by The Chronicle of a Death Foretold, published in 1981.

A year later, he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature by the Swedish Academy.

García Márquez was also a bridge between Latin American guerillas and the Colombian government, and had built a friendship with Fidel Castro in the process.

While Garcia Marquez, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America, matched commercial success with critical acclaim, he also nurtured a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years.

Reacting to  passing away of Márquez, US President Barack Obama said the world had lost "one of its greatest visionary writers", adding that he cherished an inscribed copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, presented to him by the author on a visit to Mexico. "I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo's work will live on for generations to come."

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said yesterday via Twitter, "A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. Solidarity and condolences to his wife and family ... Such giants never die."