Gabriel García Márquez Health Stable But ‘Very Fragile,' Says Family

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel García Márquez. Creative Commons

The family of Gabriel García Márquez wrote on Monday in a letter published by the newspaper El Tiempo that the Nobel winner and Colombian literary giant was in stable health following an eight-day stint in the hospital for dehydration and a respiratory- and urinary-tract infection, adding that “he is still very fragile.” The 87-year-old left the hospital in Mexico City on April 8, returning to his home in the San Angel neighborhood where he lives. His wife Mercedes Barcha and sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo, who thanked the public for their support in the letter, say there still “exist risks of complications.” 

El Tiempo also notes that during García Márquez’s stay in the Salvador Zubirán Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, the author had read reports on his health in national and international newspapers. He passed a message via a personal assistant to reporters who had gathered in the center as they waited for notice from medical staff, telling them, “You all are crazy.  What are you doing out there?  Go back to work, go do something worthwhile.”

García Márquez, or “Gabo” as he is affectionately known, last published a novel in 2004, with “Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores”, and some close to him say it’s unlikely that he’ll publish anything new within his lifetime due to the effects of dementia. His brother Jaime told a crowd of students in Cartagena, Colombia in 2012 that chemotherapy treatment Gabo underwent after being diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 had accelerated the advance of the condition.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.