In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodi
In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodi

BOGOTA - Colombia's central bank will print banknotes to honor the country's most celebrated writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died in April and who is renowned as the father of magical realism storytelling.

Congress passed a bill on Tuesday instructing the bank to feature a depiction of  "Gabo", as he was affectionately known, on the next bills it produces. The law also requires that certain sites in his native region be preserved for tourism.

The prolific writer, who started out as a newspaper reporter, was best known for his masterpiece "One Hundred Years of Solitude", which won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He is credited with bringing Latin America to life for millions of readers with his tales of love and longing.

"Gabo left an extraordinary literary and journalistic collection of work whose distribution, reading and study should be actively promoted," Congressman Antenor Duran was quoted as saying by the newspaper El Espectador.

"This initiative, as well as paying tribute to him seeks to ensure future generations know who this great Colombian, humanist, literary man and democrat was," he said.

Most Colombian notes feature portraits of notable figures in the country's early 19th-century struggle for independence from Spain. Romantic poet Jorge Isaacs is pictured on the largest banknote in circulation, worth 50,000 pesos ($20.44).

The central bank has two other runs of banknotes to print before printing those featuring Garcia Marquez, so the notes may not appear for many months or possibly a few years.

Garcia Marquez died in April at age 87 in his Mexico City home after a bout of pneumonia. His archives, including manuscripts, photo albums, typewriters and computers, were acquired by the University of Texas last month.

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