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Chilean author Luis Sepulveda dies of virus in Spain


Agence France-Presse

Madrid  /  Fri, April 17, 2020  /  01:00 pm
Chilean author Luis Sepulveda dies of virus in Spain

Chile's writer Luis Sepulveda signs his book 'L'ombre de ce que nous avons ete' (A Shadow From the Way We Were) on March 30, 2010, during the Paris' book fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris. (AFP/Etienne de Malglaive)

Best-selling Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda has died at a hospital in northern Spain some six weeks after testing positive for coronavirus, his publishing house said on Thursday. He was 70.

"The writer Luis Sepulveda has died in Oviedo," said a statement by Barcelona-based Tusquets, adding it "deeply regretted his loss". 

Best known for "The Old Man Who Read Love Stories", Sepulveda was exiled from Chile in 1977 by the Pinochet dictatorship and traveled extensively before settling in Europe in the 1980s. 

He first began showing symptoms of COVID-19 on February 25 after returning from a festival in northern Portugal and was taken to hospital in Oviedo in the northern Asturias region where he had lived for more than 20 years.

By March 10, local newspapers reported he was in critical condition, but since then, no further details have been made public at the family's request. 

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"Health workers gave everything to save his life but he never got over the illness. My condolences to his wife and family," tweeted Adrian Barbon, president of the Asturias region. 

Born on October 1949 in Ovalle, north of the Chilean capital Santiago, Sepulveda became a political activist when he was young, first with Chile's Communist Youth, and then with the Socialists.

In 1973, he was arrested by the Pinochet regime and jailed for treason for two-and-a-half years, but was freed after Amnesty International intervened, then spending time on the run before his exile in 1977. 

He wrote some 20 novels, chronicles, stories and children's books which are known for their simple humor and depictions of life in Latin America and  been translated into multiple languages.

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