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.