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.
Photo Credit: Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara