He was 87.
García Márquez, a native of Colombia, is widely credited with helping to popularize "magical realism," a genre "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination," as the Nobel committee described it.
In a televised speech Thursday night, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos declared three days of national mourning, ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff across the country.
The author -- known by his nickname "Gabo" throughout Latin America -- was born in the northern Colombian town of Aracataca, which became the inspiration for Macondo, the town at the center of "Solitude," his 1967 masterpiece, and referenced in such works as his novella "Leaf Storm" and the novel "In Evil Hour."
Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.