Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez (1929-2014)
Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez was born on March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia. Garcia Marquez was raised by his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, nicknamed "El Coronel" (in reference to his former rank in the Colombian Army) was a Liberal veteran of the Thousand Days War, and considered a hero by Colombian Liberals. Garcia Marquez described his Grandfather as his "umbilical cord with history and reality" and credited him with both his political views, and his love of storytelling. Garcia Marquez' Grandmother, Dona Tranquilina Iguaran Cotes, would also heavily influence his later writings and style, through her mysticism. Garcia Marques credits his Grandmother with treating "... the extraordinary as something perfectly natural", and he credited her as "the source of the magical, superstitious and supernatural view of reality" which strongly contributed to his own magical-realist style.
Garcia Marquez' career as a writer began in journalism, writing humorous columns for El Universal in Cartagena, Colombia. In 1957, he moved to Venezuela, having accepted a position with the newspaper El Momento in Caracas. He returned to Colombia in 1958 to marry Mercedes Barcha.
Garcia Marquez' breakthrough as an author came in 1967 with the publication of his first novel, Cien anos de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude). This book, inspired by his experiences in his grandparents house, was written over a period of eighteen months and became his most commercially successful novel. Following the success of his first novel, Garcia Marquez produced another nine critically-acclaimed novels, including: Autumn of the Patriarch, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Love in the time of Cholera, based on his parents love affair and courtship.
Among his many literary honors, Garcia Marquez received the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. His outspoken criticism of U.S. Imperialism in Latin America, and his friendship with Cuban President Fidel Castro led Garcia Marquez to be labeled as a subversive by the U.S. Government, and he was denied a travel visa to the United States until the 1992 election of President Bill Clinton, who cited One Hundred Years of Solitude as his favorite novel.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away on April 17, 2014 from Pneumonia in Mexico City. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mercedes Barcha, his two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo, and a collection of literary work that has influenced and inspired millions.