Dozens of flowers filled the street in front of Gabriel García Márquez’s Mexico City home on Thursday afternoon, as cameramen and journalists hovered around the wooden door that offered the Nobel laureate’s family some privacy to mourn the passing of the literary giant.
María Cristina García Cepeda, director of the National Institute of Fine Arts, was the first to speak with the press on behalf of the family on Thursday. According to the Associated Press, she announced that the author would be cremated in a private ceremony.
García Cepeda also said that the public would be able to mourn the novelist at a tribute to be held on Monday in the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace) in the Mexican capital.
“Gabo,” as his readers often called him, died on Thursday afternoon. No official cause of death was immediately reported, though he had been hospitalized days earlier for an infection in his lungs and urinary tract, according to the Associated Press.
The author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" had seen his health fail in recent years. In 1999, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, though it eventually went into remission with treatment. In 2012, García Márquez's brother Jaime said the literary giant suffered from dementia and had given up writing.
García Márquez was born in Aracataca, a small town near the coast of Colombia, but moved to Mexico City in 1961 and lived there on and off until establishing himself there permanently in the early 1980s. Though he made his home in Mexico, the author also had a house in Cartagena, on Colombia's Atlantic coast, that he frequented.
On Thursday evening, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced three days of national mourning in honor of the Nobel prize winner and decreed that flags would be held at half mast. The Mayor of Cartagena announced five days of mourning in the port city, which had often inspired the author’s works.
"A thousand years of solitude and sadness over the death of the greatest Colombian of all times! Solidarity and condolences to la Gaba and family," Santos tweeted when he heard the news of the novelist’s death.
Readers and admirers gathered around Gabo's home on Thursday as the hearse left with the author's body. Watch the author's fans say goodbye in the photos below.