Award-winning Colombian writer Alvaro Mutis dies

Alvaro Mutis, an award-winning Colombian poet, essayist and novelist influential throughout the Spanish-speaking world, has died in Mexico City.

Mutis, who was 90, won the prestigious Principe de Asturias award in 1997 and the Cervantes award in 2001, two of the top Spanish language literature prizes.

The official announcement of his death came via a Twitter message from Mexico's National Council of Culture and Arts, and gave no cause of death. Mutis had been living in Mexico City since 1956.

Carmen Miracle, the author's third and last wife, told the daily La Jornada that Mutis died after a long illness that saw him hospitalized.

"Millions of friends and admirers of Alvaro Mutis lament the death of their compatriot, one of the most influential Spanish-language authors," wrote Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in a Twitter message.

Mutis was also a close friend of Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Mutis's best known works include "Diary of Lecumberri" (1959) about his time in prison; "The Araucaima Mansion" (1973), "The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll" (1986); and "The last stop of the Tramp Steamer" (1990).

Marisol Schulz, director of the International Book Fair of Guadalajara, the largest in the Spanish-language world, praised Mutis on Twitter as "a unique voice . . . an exceptional human being" who wrote "essential literature."