From Bill Clinton to Isabel Allende, people pay their respects to Colombian Nobel laureate who died in Mexico City on Thursday
World leaders, fellow writers and Hollywood stars have paid tribute to the Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, following his death on Thursday at 87.
Figures from Bill Clinton to Mia Farrow and Ian McEwan expressed sorrow at the passing of the Nobel laureate, who was widely acknowledged to have been one of the greatest Latin American novelists.
García Márquez was best known for his masterpieces One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera which entwined tales of love, loss and magic rooted in Latin American's tortuous history.
He had recently been unwell, and was last week released from hospital in what was described as a fragile condition, following a lung and urinary tract infection.
Clinton praised the legacy of García Márquez, adding: "I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty. He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical. I was honoured to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years."
The writer's death at his home in Mexico City was announced on Thursday.
The Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, was among those paying tribute. "With his enchanting prose, Gabo, as he was known, led the reader through his imaginary Macondo [the fictional town in One Hundred Years of Solitude] as if he was showing a child a new world," she said. "His unique characters will remain fixed in the hearts and minds of millions of readers."
Outspoken and political, García Márquez was among the leftwing intellectuals of Latin America who bitterly opposed General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator, and unswervingly supported Fidel Castro in Cuba, which put the writer at odds with a number of political and literary figures in the US.
The publication in 1967 of One Hundred Years of Solitude – which charts the rise and fall of the Buendía family through several generations of war and peace – helped popularise the magical realism genre and provided inspiration for authors such as Salman Rushdie and Isabel Allende. Allende said on Thursday: "I owe him the impulse and the freedom to plunge into literature. In his books I found my own family, my country, the people I have known all my life, the colour, the rhythm, and the abundance of my continent."
Nobel prize-winning Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa put aside a 38-year feud to pay his respects. "
A great writer whose works brought wide knowledge and prestige to the literature of our language has died. His novels will outlive him and continue gaining readers from all over," said Vargas Llosa, who had not spoken to García Márquez since a row in 1976.
British authors paid tribute to García Márquez's influence on literature.
McEwan said: "He loosened us up in our little corner of Europe … writers were able to break free of literary provincialism. He really was a one-off and one would really have to go back to Dickens to find a writer of the very highest literary quality who commanded such extraordinary persuasive powers over whole populations."
Hollywood took to Twitter to pay its respects. Farrow spoke of her "awe and gratitude", while Forest Whitaker shared a quote from the writer in his tribute: "It's enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment – Gabriel García Márquez – RIP you will always exist in our hearts."
Girls writer and actor Lena Dunham tweeted: "I once made out with someone purely because I thought he might be related to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. What a beautiful writer – RIP."
Cristóbal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House in Mexico, said Marquez had been a "Mandela of literature."
"His influence is universal," she added. "And that is a very rare thing."