Final Resting Place For Ashes Of García Márquez Remains Unclear, May Be Split

The final resting place for the ashes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez remains unclear. It could be Mexico where he lived for decades or his native Colombia. Perhaps even both.

Colombia's ambassador to Mexico says it's completely up to the family of the Nobel laureate who died Thursday in Mexico City. And the family so far has not revealed its wishes.

Ambassador Jose Gabriel Ortiz says Colombians from President Juan Manuel Santos on down would like to see the remains divided between Mexico and Colombia. He notes that while Garcia Marquez wrote many of his novels in Mexico, "he never stopped being Colombian."

Santos sent a tweet on Saturday confirming he will attend a ceremony in Mexico City on Monday honoring the man he calls "the greatest Colombian of all."

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, a family friend said García Márquez's widow, Mercedes Barcha is "full of sadness" for the loss of her husband.

"She's fine, constantly answering the telephone, full of sadness but calm," journalist Jacobo Zabludovsky said.

Zabludovsky made his statement after stepping out of the author's home, where "Gabo" died Thursday at the age of 87.

"This is an occasion for national mourning," Zabludovsky said. "For me he was the most important writer in the world at that time."

The author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" died a little more than a week after leaving a Mexico City hospital.

Garcia Marquez, known affectionately as "Gabo," entered the National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition on March 31 with symptoms of dehydration and lung and urinary-tract infection.

He was discharged on April 8 in what a hospital spokeswoman described as "a delicate state."

Acclaimed as the father of the literary genre known as magical realism, Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, 15 years after the publication of "One Hundred Years of Solitude," which was translated into more than two-dozen languages and sold upwards of 50 million copies worldwide.

Besides novels such as "One Hundred Years of Solitude," "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," and "Love in the Time of Cholera," Garcia Marquez - a journalist in his youth - wrote an account of drug lord Pablo Escobar's reign of terror in Colombia ("News of a Kidnapping") and a memoir, "Memories of My Melancholy Whores."

Gabo, who spent most of the last three decades of his life in Mexico, made a brief public appearance last month on the occasion of his 87th birthday.

The Nobel laureate stepped outside the door of his home on Mexico City's south side to greet more than a dozen journalists.

A smiling Gabo listened to the crowd sing "Mañanitas" (the traditional Mexican birthday song) while holding a bouquet of yellow roses.

The AP and EFE contributed to this report.

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