A close friend of Colombia’s most iconic author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, claimed Tuesday the novelist did not have dementia, contradicting recent statements from the writer’s brother.
Jaime Abello, director of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez New Journalism Foundation in Cartagena, told the New York Times the author had yet to be clinically diagnosed with dementia and he suffered memory loss like any man his age would.
“I saw him in April. He is a man of 85 with the normal signs of his age,” he said.
The “One Hundred Years of Solitude” writer’s brother, Jaime, told newspaper El Universal that the author’s senile dementia, a condition suffered by other members of the Marquez family, advanced after chemotherapy treatments the Nobel Laureate received in 1999 for lymphatic cancer.
“He is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time,” he told a group of Cartagena schoolchildren Friday, noting that he had not seen his brother for two years but they speak regularly on the phone. “He still has the humor, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had,” he added.
Abello refuted Jaime Garcia Marquez’s claims, saying “I do not agree. It is an interpretation based on someone who does not share daily life with him.”
The prolific writer has remained out of the public eye in recent years, furthering speculation that he is suffering from poor health.