Fame, acclaim, and a notorious friendship with Fidel Castro: The life of writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez was as fantastical and politically charged as his reality-bending novels.
Few contemporary writers and none from Latin America could match the scope of his influence or the radical inventiveness of his imagination. Affectionately called "Gabo," Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the Colombian Nobel laureate, journalist and author, was the most celebrated Latin American cultural export of his era. He died, at 87, on April 17, in his home in Mexico City. His glamorous mystique -- the houses and apartments strewn across Europe and the Americas, the glossy magazine profiles, the voluptuousness of his words -- was offset by the author's self-deprecating charm and humble back-story. The chasm between his socialist beliefs and the opulent lifestyle to which he ultimately grew accustomed attracted criticism, to be sure, yet his literary reputation never sagged under the weight of that paradox.