"--IANS/EFE"
Mexico City, April 18 - Colombian Nobel prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez died Thursday at his home in this capital, the chairman of Mexico's National Council for Culture and the Arts said. He was 87.

He is a man who has entered into eternity and universality, Rafael Tovar told Mexican television.

A thousand years of solitude and sadness for the death of the greatest Colombian of all time! Solidarity and condolences to the family, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter after learning of the novelist's death.

The author of One Hundred Years of Solitude died a little more than a week after leaving a Mexico City hospital.

Garcia Marquez, known affectionately as Gabo, entered the National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition March 31 with symptoms of dehydration and lung and urinary-tract infections.

He was discharged April 8 in what a hospital spokesperson described as a delicate state.

Gabo's death came a day after Santos spoke out to deny a report in a Mexican newspaper that the writer, who survived lymphatic cancer more than a decade ago, was battling an advanced form of cancer affecting his lungs, lymph nodes and liver.

Santos, echoing comments of Mexican officials, said the writer was hospitalised for treatment of pneumonia.

Garcia Marquez's wife and children released a statement earlier this week indicating his condition was stable but very fragile and noting risks of complications due to the author's advanced age.

Acclaimed as the father of the literary genre known as magical realism, Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982, 15 years after the publication of One Hundred Years, which was translated into more than two-dozen languages and sold upwards of 50 million copies worldwide.

Besides novels such as One Hundred Years, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Love in the Time of Cholera, Garcia Marquez - a journalist in his youth - wrote an account of drug lord Pablo Escobar's reign of terror in Colombia - and a memoir, Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

Gabo, who spent most of the last three decades of his life in Mexico, made a brief public appearance last month on the occasion of his 87th birthday.

The Nobel laureate stepped outside the door of his home on Mexico City's south side to greet more than a dozen journalists.

A smiling Gabo listened to the crowd sing Mañanitas - while holding a bouquet of yellow roses.

Garcia Marquez leaves behind wife Mercedes Barcha, sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo, seven brothers and sisters and one half-sister.

--IANS/EFE

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