Skip to main content

Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dies

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 11, 2012 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
Author Carlos Fuentes in 2008. Fuentes was known for political commentary as well as literary works.
Author Carlos Fuentes in 2008. Fuentes was known for political commentary as well as literary works.
  • NEW: Fuentes' doctor says the author suffered a massive hemorrhage before he died
  • NEW: Los Angeles mayor: "The impact of his intellect and activism will not be forgotten"
  • Calderon: "I deeply regret the passing of our beloved and admired Carlos Fuentes"
  • The Mexican author won numerous literary awards

Mexico City (CNN) -- Mexican author Carlos Fuentes, a prolific writer known for his novels and political commentary, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Fuentes had a massive hemorrhage overnight, said Dr. Arturo Ballesteros, his doctor. He died Tuesday afternoon, hours after arriving at the hospital.

"I deeply regret the passing of our beloved and admired Carlos Fuentes, writer and universal Mexican. May he rest in peace," Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in a Twitter post.

Mexico's national arts council described Fuentes as "one of the most prolific and recognized Mexican authors in the world." He won numerous literary awards throughout his career, including the Cervantes Prize. On Monday, Spain's University of the Balearic Islands awarded him an honorary doctorate for his literary work.

Fuentes, the son of a diplomat, was born in Panama and spent parts of his childhood in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and the United States.

As he received the Cervantes Prize in 1987, he described Mexico as "the country of my blood and also of my imagination."

His first novels, which included "The Most Transparent Region" in 1959 and "The Death of Artemio Cruz" in 1962, made him one of the most important figures of the so-called Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s.

His 1985 novel "Old Gringo" was a bestseller in the United States. It became a movie in 1989 starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

"Carlos' influence on literature goes far beyond borders of Latin America, and the impact of his intellect and activism will not be forgotten," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who presented Fuentes with a key to the city in 2006.

In a recent interview with Spain's El Pais newspaper, the author discussed his plans to write a new book.

"My technique for staying young is working a lot, and always having a pending project. Now I've finished a book, 'Federico on His Balcony,' but now I have a new one, 'The Dance of the Centenarian,' that I start to write Monday in Mexico," Fuentes said in the interview, which was published this week.

Fuentes, a former ambassador to France who became known as much for his political commentary as his literary prowess, regularly wrote columns for the Spanish newspaper and the Mexico daily Reforma.

On Tuesday, Reforma published a column by Fuentes titled "Long live socialism. But..." analyzing the recent election of Francois Hollande to France's presidency.

At the Buenos Aires Book Fair earlier this month, Fuentes spoke of the problem of drug trafficking in Latin America and criticized the candidates running for president in Mexico this year.

"What alarms me enormously this year ... is that I see problems here, and the candidates there," Fuentes told CNN en Español's Carmen Aristegui in January.

People we've lost in 2012: The lives they lived

CNN's Krupskaia Alis, Rey Rodriguez, Rafael Romo, Luis Arce and contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.