Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist, dies at 83

Author Carlos Fuentes, who played a dominant role in Latin America’s novel-writing boom by delving into the failed ideals of the Mexican revolution, died Tuesday in a Mexico City hospital, the Associated Press reports. He was 83.

Mexico’s National Council for Culture for the Arts confirmed the death of Mexico’s most celebrated novelist. The cause was not immediately known, said the culture official, who was not authorized to speak to the media.

Mexican media reported Mr. Fuentes died at the Angeles del Pedregal hospital, where he was being treated for heart problems.

The loss was immediately mourned worldwide. A message on President Felipe Calderon’s Twitter account said “I deeply lament the death of our beloved and admired Carlos Fuentes, a universal Mexican writer.”

Many American readers know Mr. Fuentes for “The Old Gringo,” a novel about San Francisco journalist Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared at the height of the 1910-20 Mexican Revolution. That book was later made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

The prolific Mr. Fuentes wrote his first novel, “Where the Air Is Clear,” at age 29, laying the foundation for a boom in Spanish-language contemporary literature during the 1960s and 1970s. He published an essay on the change of power in France in the newspaper Reforma on Tuesday, the same day he died.

His generation of writers, including Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, drew global readership and attention to Latin American culture during a period when strongmen ruled much of the region.

“The Death of Artemio Cruz,” a novel about a post-revolutionary Mexico that failed to keep its promise of narrowing social gaps, brought Mr. Fuentes international notoriety.

Mr. Fuentes was often mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize but never won one. Throughout his life, Mr. Fuentes also taught courses at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Brown universities in the United States.

Mr. Fuentes was born in Panama City on Dec. 11, 1928, to Mexican parents. He lived most of his life abroad, growing up in Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro; Washington, D.C.; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires.

He later divided his time between homes in Mexico City and London, where he did most of his writing. Mr. Fuentes was married from 1959 to 1973 to actress Rita Macedo, with whom he had his only surviving daughter.

After the couple divorced, Mr. Fuentes married journalist Silvia Lemus and they had two children together.

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