Thousands of mourners queued up on Monday in Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes to bid farewell to Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The writer, 87, died on Thursday at his home in the Mexican capital.

Escorted by a ceremonial guard, Garcia Marquez’s ashes were carried into the palace’s main lobby by his wife, Mercedes Barcha, and his sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

A long red carpet and a large photo of the author decorated the building for the occasion.

A sentence from Garcia Marquez’s autobiography Living To Tell The Tale hung over the lobby: “Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.” Garcia Marquez fans waited in the sun in a long line to pay respects.

Many held yellow roses, Garcia Marquez’s favourite flowers, and yellow butterflies, which he immortalised in his most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Presidents Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia took part in the tribute on Monday.

Garcia Marquez’s was cremated in a private ceremony, in line with his family’s wishes. It remained unknown where the ashes were to rest, though Jose Gabriel Ortiz, Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico, said they might be divided between Garcia Marquez’s native Colombia and Mexico, where he lived for several decades.

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