Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate, has dementia and is no longer writing, his younger brother, Jaime, has said. The Telegraph of London reported that in a lecture to students in Cartagena, Jaime García Márquez told the audience that Gabriel, who is 85, “is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time.” The author often calls him to ask basic questions, Jaime García Márquez said, adding: “He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him.”
Gabriel García Márquez, whose works of fiction include “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. In 1999 he was given a diagnosis of lymphatic cancer and underwent treatment that Jaime García Márquez said had hastened his memory problems.
“Dementia runs in our family and he’s now suffering the ravages prematurely due to the cancer that put him almost on the verge of death,” he said. “Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defenses and cells, and accelerated the process.”
But “he still has the humor, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had,” Jaime García Márquez said of his brother.
He said it was unlikely that his brother would be able to finish a second part of his autobiography, “Vivir Para Contarla” (“Living to Tell the Tale”), or any other literary works. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll be possible,” Jaime García Márquez said, “but I hope I’m wrong.”
Jaime Abello, director of the Gabriel García Márquez New Journalism Foundation in Cartagena, said that the author had not been clinically diagnosed as having senile dementia but that his condition was open to interpretation. He said it has been understood for months that Mr. García Márquez would publish no more fiction.
“I saw him in April,” Mr. Abello said in an interview Saturday night. “He is a man of 85 with the normal signs of his age.”
Of Jaime García Márquez’s assessment, he said: “I do not agree. It is an interpretation based on someone who does not share daily life with him.”
He described Mr. García Márquez, who lives in Mexico and Los Angeles, as “retired.” “He is no longer writing and is simply living this stage of life in peace,” he said. “He reads every day and is with his family.”
Cristobal Pera, his editor at Random House Mondadori, said Sunday that Mr. García Márquez had been working on a novel, “We’ll See Each Other in August,” but that there was no scheduled publication date and the author seemed disinclined to have it published. “He told me, ‘This far along I don’t need to publish more,”’ Mr. Pera said.
Randal C. Archibold contributed reporting from Mexico City.