“I received with great sadness the news of the death of Mercedes Barca,” Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said in a tweet, adding, “Our deepest condolences.”
The cause of the death of Barca, who has lived in Mexico since 1961, was not revealed, but Colombian media reported that she was suffering from respiratory problems. Garcia Marquez, a Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1982 who was born in Aracataca, Colombia in 1927, died in 2014 in Mexico City.
Colombian President Ivan Duque expressed his condolences to the family. “Today, Mercedes Barca, who was the love of the life of our Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his companion, died unconditionally,” he wrote, stressing Colombias “solidarity” with their family.
Mercedes Barsha, who was born to Egyptian immigrants, lived in Magangui, Colombia, where her father owned a pharmacy. Garcia Marquez knew her from childhood, when he traveled with his father to sell medicine from village to village.
The couple has two sons, one of whom is Gonzalo, a painter, and the other, Rodrigo, a film and television director and producer. The death of Mercedes Barca sparked reactions on social media in literary, cultural and political circles.