Alvaro Mutis, an award-winning writer and poet from Colombia who drew inspiration from his early days in the South American nation, died in Mexico City, according to a tweet from Mexico’s National Council for Culture and Arts. He was 90.
“We regret the death of the writer Alvaro Mutis. We send our condolences to family and friends,” the council’s Twitter account posted on Sunday night.
The tweet did not indicate how Mutis died, but the Guardian reported that the Colombian-born writer passed away from a cardio-respiratory condition.
Among those sending their condolences was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
"The millions of friends and admirers of Álvaro Mutis profoundly lament his death," Santos said of Mutis. "All of Colombia honors him."
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"Millions of friends and admirers of Alvaro Mutis lament the death of their compatriot, one of the most influential Spanish-language authors," Santos continued in a Twitter post.
Mutis was one of the most famous contemporary Spanish-language writers. He won the highly regarded Principe de Asturias award in 1997 and followed that up with the Cervantez award in 2001. His first published work, of poetry, appeared in 1948. The first short stories from the Colombian writer were published in 1978. Among his most famous works are the novella La Nieve del Almirante (The Snow of the Admiral) and The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, a compilation of seven novellas featuring Maqroll the Gaviero.
The 90-year-old writer was friends with fellow countryman Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner for literature and author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
While Mutis moved from Colombia to Mexico in his 30s, his home country was always an influence in his writings. Mutis spent some of his childhood in Coello during the holidays, according to the BBC.
"From there, from Coello and its environs, stems my little universe. That land is the source of everything I have written. I don't care what value my novels have or how long they'll last in people's memories ... what really matters to me is that I kept Coello alive for a bit longer," Mutis said of the small town in Tolima province.
Aside from writing, Mutis also enjoyed billiards – and found comparisons between his two loves.
"Taking a good shot is similar to composing a poem... in both cases you analyze the situation, then you disregard the obvious solutions, you think calmly, and then, suddenly you know 'It's this way', you take your shot and see what happens,” he once said, according to the BBC.