Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died Thursday at his home in Mexico City at the age of 87, has been hailed as a giant of modern literature, a writer of intoxicating novels and short stories that illuminated Latin America's passions, superstition, violence and social inequality.
Born in 1927 in the small Colombian town of Aracataca, he was raised by his grandparents, whose stories of Colombia's 1,000-Day War (1899-1902) inspired Garcia Marquez's fiction.
"I have often been told by the family that I started recounting things, stories and so on, almost since I was born -- ever since I could speak," Garcia Marquez once told an interviewer.
He was inspired by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka and William Faulkner (whom he credited during his 1982 Nobel Laureate speech as "my master").
"I'm a journalist. I've always been a journalist," he once told the Associated Press. "My books couldn't have been written if I weren't a journalist because all the material was taken from reality."
His first published short story, was in 1947, and while his fiction has been characterized as the genre of "magic realism," he also published much non-fiction. His early career journalism career included editorials, humorous columns and film criticism. His 1970 "Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor," about a seaman stranded on a life raft for 10 days, discredited the Colombian navy. He also wrote about Colombian drug traffickers, political figures, dictatorships, the violence of civil wars, and the disappeared.
Biographer Gerald Martin told The Associated Press that Garcia Marquez's best-known novel, the epic "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967), was the first in which "Latin Americans recognized themselves, that defined them, celebrated their passion, their intensity, their spirituality and superstition, their grand propensity for failure."
A sample from "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975), which the author described as a "poem on the solitude of power":
"Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside and at dawn on Monday the city awoke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur."
"The world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers -- and one of my favorites from the time I was young," President Barack Obama said upon news of Garcia Marquez's death Thursday at the age of 87.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote in a tweet, "Affection and admiration for the essential and universal writer of Spanish literature in the second half of the twentieth century."
The following is a list of his published works:
"Eyes of a Blue Dog" (1947) - Short story collection
"La mujer que llegaba a las seis" (1950) - Short story collection
"Leaf Storm" (1955) - Novella
"No One Writes to the Colonel" (1961) - Novella
"Big Mama's Funeral" (1962) - Short story collection
"In Evil Hour" (1962) - Novel
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967) - Novel
"The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor" (1970) - Non-fiction
"The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975) - Novel
"The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother" (1978) - Short story collection
"Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (1981) - Novella
"The Fragrance of Guava" (1982, with Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza) - Non-fiction
"The Solitude of Latin America" (1982) - Nobel lecture
"Collected Stories" (1984) - Short story collection
"Love in the Time of Cholera" (1985) - Novel
"Clandestine in Chile" (1986) - Non-fiction
"The General in His Labyrinth" (1989) - Novel
"Strange Pilgrims" (1993) - Short story collection
"Of Love and Other Demons" (1994) - Novel
"News of a Kidnapping" (1996) - Non-fiction
"A Country for Children" (1998) - Non-fiction
"Living to Tell the Tale" (2002) - Non-fiction
"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" (2004) - Novella
"Collected Stories" (from "Eyes of a Blue Dog," "Big Mama's Funeral," and "The Incredible and Sad Tale of lnnocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother")
"Collected Novellas" ("Leaf Storm," "No One Writes to the Colonel," and "Chronicle of a Death Foretold")