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Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel-winning Colombian author who used magical realism to tell epic stories of love, family and dictatorship in Latin America, died Thursday at the age of 87. Known affectionately as "Gabo," the author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera" became one of the most popular Latin American novelists in the world and the godfather of a literary movement that witnessed a continent in turmoil. The journalist was a colorful character who befriended Cuban leader Fidel Castro, got punched by fellow Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and joked that he wrote to make his friends love him. "One thousand years of solitude and sadness for the death of the greatest Colombian of all time," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter.