Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Arataca, Colombia on 6 March 1927. Soon after García Márquez was born, his father became a pharmacist and moved, with his wife, to Barranquilla, leaving young Gabito in Aracataca. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán and Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía. In December 1936, his father took him and his brother to Sincé, while in March 1937, his grandfather diedAs a child, his grandmother told him fantastic stories of magical events, relating them as if they were fact. These early stories helped shape his own signature writing style, later known as "magical realism."
Garcia Marquez studied law and journalism at the National University of Colombia at Bogota and later at the University of Cartagena. In 1948, he became a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and worked as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York during the next decade. García Márquez began his career as a journalist in 1948 and 1949 he wrote for El Universal in Cartagena. Later, from 1950 until 1952, he wrote a "whimsical" column under the name of "Septimus" for the local paper El Heraldo in Barranquilla. He also began writing short stories during this time. His first important fiction collection, Leaf Storm and Other Stories, was published in 1955 and introduced the fictional Colombian village of Macondo, where many of his later stories and novels are set.
In the 1960s, Garcia Marquez moved to Mexico City, where he worked as a screenwriter, journalist, and publicist. In Mexico, he wrote one of his best-known novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude, published in 1967. He moved to Barcelona in 1973 and also made many trips to Cuba, where he became close personal friends with communist dictator Fidel Castro. His friendship with Castro and his left-leaning politics made him politically unpopular with the U.S. government, but his books continued to sell well. Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Other major works include Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989).
García Márquez met Mercedes Barcha while she was in college; they decided to wait for her to finish before getting married. When he was sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent, Mercedes waited for him to return to Barranquilla. Finally they married in 1958. The following year, their first son, Rodrigo García, now a television and film director, was born.
In 1999, Garcia Marquez was diagnosed with cancer. He began writing his memoirs, the first of which, Vivir para contarla, was published in 2002. The English translation, Living to Tell the Tale was released the next year.
Garcia Marquez died on April 17, 2014, at age 87 at his Mexico City home. On his death, Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, described him as "the greatest Colombian who ever lived".
Garcia Marquez was cremated at a private family ceremony in Mexico City. On 22 April, the presidents of Colombia and Mexico attended a formal ceremony in Mexico City, where Garcia Marquez had lived for more than three decades. A funeral cortege took the urn containing his ashes from his house to the Palace of Fine Arts, where the memorial ceremony was held. Earlier, residents in his home town of Aracataca in Colombia's Caribbean region held a symbolic funeral