Magical Realist Gabriel Garcia Marquez Suffers from Dementia

The author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Gabrial Garcia Marquez, has been an icon of literature for the last 40 years. This week his brother, Jaime Garcia Marquez, announced that the famed author and commentator suffers from dementia.

The announcement, made to a group of students at the city of Cartagena, was a decisive shift from the usual silence maintained by Garcia Marquez and his family regarding his health, the Telegraph reports.

Jaime Garcia Marquez said that the author still retains the “humor, joy and enthusiasm he has always had” despite battling the difficult symptoms of dementia. The author fought off lymphatic cancer in the late 1990s. The chemotherapy and treatments to cure the illness strained his body, bringing on the effects of dementia — an affliction that runs in the family — earlier than expected.

Perhaps the saddest part of this sudden announcement is that the author, who is now 85, will likely be unable to finish his autobiography, which was only partially completed. Although his brother maintains that he is in decent physical health, he still suffers from lapses in memory.

Garcia Marquez now lives in Mexico City and published his last novel, “My Melancholy Whores,” five years ago. He is best known for “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” which has sold more than 30 million copies, the BBC notes. He was also named the Nobel literature laureate in 1982.

He wrote a wide range of short stories employing effective and magical imagery to make pointed statements about society, family and love. The short story turned film, “Milagro en Roma,” was a commentary on the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church in Rome and about the love a father holds for his child.

Jaime Garcia Marquez’s announcement came after many years of silence from the whole family. He stated that, “The fact is there are lots of comments. Some are true but they’re always filled with morbid (details). Sometimes you get the sense they’d rather he were dead, as if his death were some great news.” Earlier this year, Garcia Marquez’s fellow magical realist, Carlos Fuentes, passed away at the age of 83.

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Photo Credit: Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

14 comments

Carl Oerke
Carl O.4 years ago

I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitudein English and still don't know what to make if it. It was unlike any other book that I had ever read. I will have to read it a couple more times try get more out of it. I will say that Marquez is a unique author and I was saddened to learn that he is suffering form dementia.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 4 years ago

This is sad news. He's a great writing and it'd be sad if we didn't get to read more from him.

Mark Stephen Caponigro
Mark Caponigro4 years ago

Stephanie S. does well to recall the terrific novella "Cronica de una muerte anunciada," "Chronicle of a death foretold." Years ago I assigned it as the final text in a college literary survey course, by way of representing the 20th century.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a giant of modern Western culture and history. He has surely done as much as anyone to make Latin America profoundly interesting and attractive to North Americans.

Lia R.
l r.4 years ago

Though many are saddened by Garcia Marquez' conditon, we must not forget to celebrate his vast and enriching contribution to literature. A Nobel prize winning author, his legacy has allowed many like myself to be transported to distant and magical places while moved by profound human stories. I hope his work continues to be disseminated widely and expose future generations to the possibilities of wonder and compassion.

Sofia E.
Sofia E.4 years ago

This is very sad. I really loved his books.

Stephanie S.
Stephanie S.4 years ago

This is so horrible! I have been a huge fan of him since I read "Crónica de una Muerte Anunciada" for my 10th grade class. It is such terrible news that such a great mind has to suffer from such a terrible disease. I can only hope and pray for him and his family. It is such a terrible thing to happen, and I am so sorry for them all. He's one of the greatest writers of our time, and doesn't deserve this (although, nobody ever deserves anything like that). My prayers go out to him. May he not suffer.

Todd K.
Todd K.4 years ago

Perhaps, if he was aware of the potential for hemp oil to help him, he may yet be able to finish his last book.

If only there was some way to let him know about it, before it's too late.

http://PhoenixTearsMovie.com is the place to direct him, or his family, if anyone out there does know how to reach the man.

Todd K.
Todd K.4 years ago

Perhaps, if he was aware of the potential for hemp oil to help him, he may yet be able to finish his last book.

If only there was some way to let him know about it, before it's too late.

http://PhoenixTearsMovie.com is the place to direct him, or his family, if anyone out there does know how to reach the man.

Barbara Yates
Barbara Yates4 years ago

He will surely be missed as his stories are transcendent and her for all to enjoy. Thank you Sr. Garcia.

irene fernandez
irene Fernandez4 years ago

This is so sad, hope their - his privacy is respected thru out