Gabriel Garcia Marquez's brother, Jaime Garcia Marquez, confirmed last week that the legendary author is in fact suffering from senile dementia. During an academic conference in Cartegena de Indias, Colombia, El Universal reported that Jaime told the audience he “is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time.”
Although his brother has not confirmed of whether or not this would affect his written work, Jaime Abello, director of the Gabriel García Márquez New Journalism Foundation in Cartagena, said that it has been understood for months that Mr. García Márquez would publish no more fiction.
Jaime disagrees with Abello and stated that “I do not agree. It is an interpretation based on someone who does not share daily life with him."
Gabriel was working on a novel, “We’ll See Each Other in August,” but that, according to his editor at Random House Mondadori, Cristobal Pera, there was no scheduled publication date and the author seemed disinclined to have it published. According to the New York Times, he told Pera, ‘This far along I don’t need to publish more.'"
The author often calls his brother, Jaime, to ask basic questions. Jaime said, "he has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him.” Jaime is 13 years younger than Gabriel, El Clarin, a newspaper in Argentina reports.
The Colombian author won a Nobel prize in 1982 and is best known for his novels: Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos de cólera)--which was made into a movie, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Crónica de una muerte anunciada), and his 1967 masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad). This novel has been translated into more than 30 languages, has sold more than 30 million copies and is considered by many literary critics to be one of the most important contemporary Latin American works of literature.
In 1999, "Gabo", as he is called by many was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, which he overcame. However, it is believed that the cancer treatment has accelerated his mental decline.
"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," the author's brother said in Spanish.
"Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defences and cells, and accelerated the process. But he still has the humour, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had," reported El Clarin.
Jaime said that he tried to keep his brother's condition a secret, "because it's his life and he's always tried to protect it".
In June, however, concerns were raised when fellow novelist and journalist, Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, and a close of "Gabo" described "how the 85-year-old author and master of magical realism has trouble recognizing his closest friends.
"Last time we spoke he would forget certain things,” said Mendoza in Spanish. “He would ask me ‘when did you get here? Where are you staying’ and he kept repeating things. Instead, we went out to lunch and we reminisced about events that happened 30 or 40 years ago and his memory was as sharp as ever.
Salman Rushdie, a British Indian novelist and essayist, expressed his sentiment on Twitter, "It's very sad news, @DennisJBock. For many decades García Márquez has been the greatest of us all." Rushdie's second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981. His work is famous for combining magical realism with historical fiction.
Gabriel García Márquez
Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez reacts as he arrives at a dinner in honor of U.S. President Barack Obama at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City on April 16, 2009. Obama is in Mexico on a 24-hour visit. (Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
Visiting His Hometown Of Aracataca
SANTA MARTA, COLOMBIA: Colombian Nobel Prize for Literature 1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, sitting in the carriage alongside his wife Mercedes Barcha, smiles upon arriving at his hometown Aracataca by train 30 May, 2007 in Santa Marta, Colombia. Garcia Marquez didn't visit Aracataca in 20 years. (Photo by ALEJANDRA VEGA/AFP/Getty Images)
With His Wife Mercedes Barcha
SANTA MARTA, COLOMBIA: Colombian Nobel Prize for Literature 1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his wife Mercedes Barcha lean out of the window of the train they are taking to his hometown Aracataca on May 30, 2007 in Santa Marta, Colombia. Garcia Marquez had not visited Aracataca in 20 years. (Photo by ALEJANDRA VEGA/AFP/Getty Images)
Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez gestures during a celebration for Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes' 80th birthday in Mexico City, on November 17, 2008. The octogenarian writer released a new book next October called "Yo no vengo a decir un discurso" (I am not here to deliver a speech), which collected together 22 texts that were written with the purpose of being read in public. (Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
With Fidel Castro
This file picture from December 15, 1986, shows former Cuban President Fidel Castro (C), Nobel Literature Prize Gabriel Garcia Marquez (L) and movie director Fernando Birri (R) during the inauguration of the International School of Cinema in San Antonio de los Banos, Havana province. (Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
'Gabo' And Mexican Writer Carlos Fuentes
Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes is congratulated by Nobel Prize winner Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez during a celebration for Fuentes' 80th birthday in Mexico City, on November 17, 2008. (Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
With Former US President Bill Clinton
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks with Colombian writer and 1982 Literature Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez during the IV International Congress of the Spanish Language on March 26, 2007 in Cartagena, Colombia. Paying homage to Garcia Marquez, the Congress was inaugurated in the Caribbean port of Cartagena, with the attendance of 1.200 people and the presence of Spanish King Juan Carlos. (Photo by PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
'Gabo' In Cartagena
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA: Colombian writer and Nobel Prize Gabriel Garcia Marquez waves to fans, after the inauguration of IV International Congress of the Spanish Language, in Cartagena, Colombia, on March 26, 2007. (Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images)
'Gabo' And Evo Morales
HAVANA, CUBA: Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (L) speaks with Bolivian President Evo Morales at Revolution Square in Havana, during a military parade celebrating President Fidel Castro's 80th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. (Photo by BALTAZAR MESA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Newspaper Offers A Special Supplement Dedicated The To Colombian Writer
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: A young Mexican sitting in a cafe reads a newspaper that offers a special supplement dedicated to Colombian writer and Nobel Prize in Literature 1982 winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the day of his 80th anniversary in 2007. (Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)
"Memories of My Melancholy Whores"
A woman in a bookshop looks at the new book by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Memories of My Melancholy Whores," during its launching in Bogota on October 20, 2004. (Photo by LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)