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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 so that his friends would 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.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was an enormous influence on a huge number of writers worldwide, in particular through his 1967 novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Far beyond South America and the wider Hispanic world, Garcia Marquez's influence was felt by and played out in the work of authors "all over the planet", Claude Durand, the French translator of the landmark novel, told AFP. With its mix of myth, fantasy and family saga, critics have also observed the influence of Garcia Marquez in Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children". Rushdie once told an interviewer that there was "a whole group of writers" including himself and Garcia Marquez "who, broadly speaking, are thought of as a family", namely a Magical Realism family.