Latin America

Novelist García Márquez receiving palliative care at his Mexico City home

Nobel Prize-winning author said to be suffering from terminal cancer Family acknowledges his “delicate health” and requests privacy

An ambulance brings García Márquez home last week.
An ambulance brings García Márquez home last week.REUTERS

Just hours after it emerged that Gabriel García Márquez was receiving palliative care at his home in Mexico City, his family acknowledged in a statement on Monday that the 87-year-old novelist’s health was “very delicate” and risked complications “because of his age.”

In the statement, signed by his wife, Mercedes Barcha, and sons Gonzalo and Rodrigo, the family of the Nobel Prize-winning author thanked his friends and the media for all the messages of concern and love they have received over the past few days.

“The family appreciates these supportive gestures, but asks that our privacy be respected,” it said. García Márquez is receiving 24-hour care at his home in the affluent neighborhood of San Ángel, where he has lived for the past three decades.

The Mexico City daily El Universal first reported Monday that the Colombian novelist was receiving palliative care for cancer. Because of his age, the newspaper said the family decided not to subject him to radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

The family reportedly decided not to subject him to radiation or chemotherapy treatments

EL PAÍS corroborated this information through its own source.

Quoting sources with knowledge of his condition, El Universal said that the writer had been suffering from lymphoma for the past decade. The cancer has now spread to his lungs and liver, the daily said.

In an interview with the German news agency DPA, Mónica Alonso, García Márquez’s long-time assistant, said she was not aware that the celebrated novelist had been suffering from cancer.

“No one ever said anything to us,” Alonso said.

The writer has been suffering from lymphoma for the past decade, according to a report in one daily

Doubts about the state of his health also began circulating on the social networks.

Rodrigo, a filmmaker who resides in Los Angeles, flew to Mexico City on Saturday. García Márquez’s doctor, Jorge Oseguera, attended to him for more than an hour at the writer’s home on Sunday, and nurses are also on duty for most of the day.

Members of his inner circle said that he was in good spirits during the week he spent at the hospital but was upset about the media coverage concerning his health.

The author of 100 Years of Solitude, García Márquez was hospitalized at the end of March but his condition was not made public. At the time, his other son, Gonzalo García Barcha, said it was only a “bronchial infection.”

Following his release from the Salvador Zubirán Clinic, he was taken to his home by ambulance. A spokesman for the clinic said that the novelist was in “very delicate health” and for now will continue receiving treatment at his San Ángel estate. The official didn’t say what he was suffering from.

Before his arrival, witnesses said they saw a hospital bed taken inside his home.