Photo: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mercedes Barcha
Mercedes Barcha is “full of sadness” for the death of husband Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a family friend said Friday as he was leaving the Mexico City home of the late Nobel laureate.
“She’s fine, constantly answering the telephone, full of sadness but calm,” journalist Jacobo Zabludovsky said.
Zabludovsky made his statement after stepping out of the author’s home, where “Gabo” died Thursday at the age of 87.
“This is an occasion for national mourning,” Zabludovsky said. “For me he was the most important writer in the world at that time.”
As the journalist made his statement, a floral arrangement of white daisies and roses was delivered to the Garcia Marquez residence, a tribute from Colombian singer Shakira.
“My most heartfelt condolences, Shakira,” said the card that came with the bouquet.
Garcia Marquez will be cremated “in private,” the director of Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts said late Thursday, relaying a message from the writer’s family.
“On Monday starting at 1600 hours (4:00 p.m.) a sorrowful tribute will be held at the Palace of Fine Arts, where the public can pay homage to his legacy,” Maria Cristina Garcia Cepeda said at a press conference.
She was accompanied by Jaime Abello, director general of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation, who said that this is the only information that will be given about the Colombian writer’s death.
“I don’t believe there will be any further communiques, and we would rather leave them for Monday. The idea now is to rest, relax and recover a bit of peace and quiet,” Abello said, encouraging the numerous reporters to leave who had spent all day at the doors of the Garcia Marquez home.
Asked about the cause of death, Abello said that “the doctors will tell us later, I suppose.”
The author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” died a little more than a week after leaving a Mexico City hospital.
Garcia Marquez, known affectionately as “Gabo,” entered the National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition on March 31 with symptoms of dehydration and lung and urinary-tract infections.
He was discharged on April 8 in what a hospital spokeswoman described as “a delicate state.”
Acclaimed as the father of the literary genre known as magical realism, Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, 15 years after the publication of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” which was translated into more than two-dozen languages and sold upwards of 50 million copies worldwide.
Besides novels such as “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” and “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Garcia Marquez - a journalist in his youth - wrote an account of drug lord Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror in Colombia (“News of a Kidnapping”) and a memoir, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores.”
Gabo, who spent most of the last three decades of his life in Mexico, made a brief public appearance last month on the occasion of his 87th birthday.
The Nobel laureate stepped outside the door of his home on Mexico City’s south side to greet more than a dozen journalists.
A smiling Gabo listened to the crowd sing “Mañanitas” (the traditional Mexican birthday song) while holding a bouquet of yellow roses.
Besides his widow, Garcia Marquez is survived by sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo, seven brothers and sisters and one half-sister.