The ashes of Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez were brought on Monday to this capital’s Palace of Fine Arts, where hundreds were waiting to pay their respects to the Nobel prize-winning writer who called Mexico home for the last three decades of his life.
The remains were delivered to the palace by the author’s widow, Mercedes Barcha, sons Gonzalo and Rodrigo, and the chairman of Mexico’s National Council for Culture and the Arts, Rafael Tovar.
Police escorted the party on the 20-minute drive from the Garcia Marquez home on Mexico City’s south side.
The urn containing the ashes of “Gabo” was placed in the vestibule of the palace, surrounded by flowers, including a bouquet with a card reading: “From Fidel Castro Ruz, to the closest of friends.”
Hundreds of people of all ages began to gather outside the palace at midday.
An official tribute to Garcia Marquez, led by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto, was set to begin later Monday evening at the palace.
The 87-year-old Garcia Marquez died at home last Thursday, a little more than a week after leaving a Mexico City hospital where he underwent treatment for pneumonia.
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,” “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.”