Colombian Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died in Mexico aged 87. Best-known for his masterpiece 'One Hundred Years of Solitude,' he is credited with putting magic realism on the literary map.
Sources close to his family said Garcia Marquez passed away at his home in Mexico City with his wife and two sons by his side.
His cause of death was not immediately known, however he had been admitted to hospital for a week suffering from pneumonia earlier this month.
In a statement the writer's family said his remains would be cremated and a private ceremony held at an unspecific time.
The Mexican government said it would hold a memorial to Garcia Marquez on Monday in the Art Deco Palace of Fine Arts in the capitol's historic center.
Meanwhile Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos announced three days of national mourning and paid tribute to the novelist on Twitter.
"One hundred years of solitude and sadness for the death of the greatest Colombian of all time," he said.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, known affectionately as "Gabo" to his fans, was widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer.
Collectively his works outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible.
His 1967 epic "One Hundred Years of Solitude" sold more than 50 million copies in more than 25 languages and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
He was also famed for "Love in the Time of Cholera," which was later portrayed in film, "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," and "Autumn of the Patriarch."
'The miraculous and the real converge'
Garcia Marquez started his career as a newspaper journalist before turning his hand to stories, essays and several short novels, including "Leaf Storm" and "No One Writes to the Colonel" in the 1950s and early 1960s.
It wasn't until later that he found his voice as a novelist with "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
Its instant success earned the novel the nickname "Latin America's Don Quixote," from late Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.
It tells the tale of seven generations of one family living in a fictional village in Colombia through the genre of magic realism; when the supernatural blends with the mundane.
At times comic, at times tragic, the novel is also prized for bringing everyday Latin America to millions of readers around the world.
The novel was "the first novel in which Latin Americans recognized themselves, that defined them, celebrated their passion, their intensity, their spirituality and superstition, their grand propensity for failure," said biographer Gerald Martin.
This unique style transcended into subsequent works and was recognized by the Swedish Academy in 1982.
Awarding him the literary prize the academy said: "In his novels and short stories we are led into this peculiar place where the miraculous and the real converge."
"The extravagant flight of his own fantasy combines with traditional folk tales and facts, literary allusions and tangible - at times obtrusively graphic - descriptions approaching the matter-of-factness of reportage."
ccp/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)