Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude", died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87. His death was confirmed by his former editor at Random House.
García Márquez, well known by his nickname, Gabo, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote fiction rooted in a mythical Latin American landscape of his own creation, but his appeal was universal.
Garcia Marquez said he found inspiration for the novel by drawing on childhood memories of his grandmother's stories - laced with folklore and superstition but delivered with the straightest of faces.
"She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness," he said in a 1981 interview. "I discovered that what I had to do was believe in them myself, and write them with the same expression with which my grandmother told them: with a brick face."
His books have been translated into almost all languages. His writings were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.
"Each new work of his is received by expectant critics and readers as an event of world importance," the Swedish Academy of Letters said when awarding him with the Nobel.
Gabo was considered the supreme exponent, of the literary genre known as magic realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half century apart.
Magic realism, he said, sprang from Latin America's history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence.
In accepting his Nobel, Gabo said: "Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable."