MONTEVIDEO – Prolific Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti died on Sunday at his home in this capital, sources close to the family said. He was 88.
The writer, who had recently been in fragile health, had been hospitalized four times over the past year in Montevideo for assorted physical ailments.
The first hospitalization came in January and February 2008 when he was suffering from enterocolitis – inflammation of the colon and small intestine – which had caused him to become dehydrated, and the second time occurred in March when he had respiratory problems. His third hospitalization came last May as a result of a general imbalance in his physical well-being.
The writer was last admitted to the hospital on April 24 and remained there until May 6, when he was released and returned to his home after being treated for a chronic intestinal illness.
Benedetti was the author of more than 80 books of poetry, novels, short stories and essays, as well as a number of movie screenplays. He was awarded the Queen Sofia Ibero-American Poetry Prize in 1999, the Jose Marti Ibero-American Prize in 2001 and the Menendez Pelayo International Prize in 2005.
His last published work, a book of poems entitled “Testigo de uno mismo,” came out in August 2008.
Before his latest hospital admission, Benedetti was working on a new book of poetry under the working title “Biografia para encontrarme” (Biography to find myself).