Mercedes Barcha, who was credited by late husband and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez with making it possible for him to write his masterpiece "One Hundred Years of Solitude," has died at the age of 87.
Barcha, who married García Márquez in 1958 and managed the couple's finances through some hard times while the author wrote, died on Saturday in Mexico City, according to Mexico's Culture Ministry. The Colombian couple had moved to Mexico in 1961; García Márquez died in 2014.
Barcha, who had been suffering from respiratory problems, was praised by Colombian President Iván Duque, Mexican authorities and prominent figures in Latin American art and culture for her role as a muse and lifelong companion to Garcia Marquez. The celebrated writer was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982 and is considered one of the most important Spanish-language writers of all time.
Barcha was the love of García Márquez's life, Duque tweeted.
"I had the privilege of meeting Mercedes Barcha. Great conversationalist, cheerful, critical, cultured, infallible in her opinions. A great and beautiful woman," Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City's mayor, said on Twitter.
Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez said that with Barcha's death, "a whole literary era is left behind, and the memory of a close friend of many happy years of talks, surprises, long stories and sleepless nights remains."
Jorge Eduardo Ritter, a former Panamanian foreign minister who was a friend of García Márquez, wrote on Sunday: "In no small measure how much we owe to the writer, he and his readers owe it to her. They are together again."
Barcha is survived by her two sons with García Márquez, Gonzalo and Rodrigo García Barcha.