Gabriel García Márquez, 87, Hospitalized In Mexico

Federal health officials say Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez has been hospitalized in Mexico City.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. They declined to specify the cause of his illness.

The 87-year-old Nobel laureate is by some accounts the Spanish language's most popular writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century. The extraordinary literary celebrity he attained in life drew comparisons with Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. He has lived in Mexico City for more than 30 years.

A smiling "Gabo," wearing a gray suit and light blue shirt, made a public appearance early last month to celebrate his birthday and listened to a crowd sing "Mañanitas" (the traditional Mexican birthday song) while holding a bouquet of yellow roses.

The author,who was accompanied by his secretary and a friend of the family, did not make any statements but greeted the journalists and photographers and applauded them when they finished singing.

His secretary also handed out paper butterflies - also yellow, the author's favorite color - to the journalists and a female autograph seeker.

García Márquez, who had celebrated his birthday two days earlier with his family members and closest friends, had no special plans for Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, he received a cake and several bouquets of flowers from his friends, mainly yellow roses and orchids.

García Márquez, who arrived in Mexico in 1961, currently lives in the capital's upscale Jardines del Pedregal neighborhood with his wife, Mercedes Barcha, and occasionally attends cultural and social events.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press and Efe.

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