Author Gabriel García Márquez Battles With Dementia
Esteemed book writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez has dementia and is no longer able to write, his brother said.
The reports surfaced over the weekend when Jaime García Márquez told students in Cartagena, Colombia that the author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is struggling with mental illness at the age of 85.
"He has problems with his memory," Jaime said. "Sometimes I cry because I feel like I'm losing him."
Márquez, who is known for ushering in the era of magical realism as a literary device, had been working on completing his three-volume autobiography, “Living to Tell the Tale.” However, according to his brother, years of chemotherapy treatment during a bout with lymphatic cancer starting in 1999, have had a lasting effect on Márquez’s mental facilities.
“He still has the humor, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had. But it’s a disease that runs in the family,” Jaime said.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” remains Márquez’s most popular and well-received book. Since its publication in 1967, over 20 million copies have been sold worldwide.
Márquez was born and raised in Colombia and his life experiences including the aftermath of the “banana massacre” and his time as a journalist became storylines in many of his novels.
(A personal favorite of mine is “No One Writes to the Colonel,” which is a short novella about a retired colonel struggling to get his pension and whose lone asset is a rooster that belonged to his son. Márquez’s own grandfather was a retired officer who was never able to get his pension.)
Always politically active, Márquez became invested in peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC rebels and counts former Cuban president Fidel Castro as a friend.
“Gabo,” as Márquez is often called, has spent the last 51 years living in Mexico with his wife and is unlikely to ever write again. But his brother retains a sliver of hope.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll be possible,” Jaime said of the his brother finishing his autobiography, “but I hope I’m wrong.”
“He always said that reality was stranger than fiction.”