Admirers of the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez paid their last respects to the Colombian-born writer at a memorial service held in his honor Monday in Mexico City.
Thousands of people lined up outside the Palace of Fine Arts for the chance to view the urn containing the Nobel laureate's ashes, while a musical trio played the vallenato folk music of Garcia Marquez's native Colombia. The palace was decorated with yellow roses, a favorite of the author.
After the viewing, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos paid tribute to the author of the classic novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
"Gabriel Garcia Marquez's death is a great loss not only for literature but for humanity. Various generations have dream, enjoyed and found answers to the questions of life in his stories and tales."
"We come here to testify that Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the most Colombian of all, is still alive. He will live on in his books and writings. But more than anything he will live forever in the hopes of humanity."
After the service, crowds outside the palace released yellow paper butterflies into the air, a reference to a character in "One Hundred Years of Solitude" who was always followed by yellow butterflies.
Garcia Marquez died last Thursday at the age of 87 in Mexico City, where he had lived since the early 1960s. He was lauded for his use of "magical realism," a style of storytelling that blends realism with elements of fantasy.
A memorial service was held Monday in his hometown of Aracataca, Colombia, which served as the model for the fictional village of Macondo, where "One Hundred Years of Solitude" was set.
Colombians will stage a nationwide reading of Garcia Marquez's novel "No One Writes to the Colonel" in more than 1,000 libraries, parks and universities.