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Fernando Botero, Colombian artist, cause of death at 91

Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, known for his corpulent figures, has died at 91. A week of mourning has been declared in Medellín.

A week of mourning has been declared in Medellín following the news of the death of Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero. Botero, renowned for his depictions of corpulent and oversized figures, passed away at the age of 91. His daughter, Lina, revealed in an interview with Colombian broadcaster W Radio that he had been battling pneumonia in recent days. She expressed that he died peacefully, with both her and her daughter by his side. Botero's passing comes shortly after the death of his companion of 48 years, Sophia Vari, earlier this year.

The artist, who resided in Monaco, had been living with Parkinson's disease in recent years. However, his daughter mentioned that the disease did not hinder his ability to continue working until his final day. Colombian President Gustavo Petro paid tribute to Botero on social media, describing him as the painter of Colombian traditions, defects, virtues, violence, and peace.

Medellín, Botero's birthplace, has declared a week of mourning in honor of the artist. The city's mayor, Daniel Quintero, expressed that Botero's life, work, and love for Medellín and Colombia will endure forever. Born in 1932, Botero studied in Madrid before moving to Paris and Florence. It was during his time in Europe that he drew inspiration from the works of Old Masters like Goya and Velázquez.

In 1960, Botero settled in New York and later returned to Paris in the 70s, where he began creating sculptures alongside his paintings. His art often explored themes such as drug-related violence in Colombia, as seen in his notable work "The Death of Pablo Escobar" from 1999. This painting depicts the fatal shooting of the Colombian drug lord. Botero's renowned series "Abu Ghraib" from 2005 shed light on the torture of Iraqi detainees by US soldiers in the Abu Ghraib prison.

His sculptures can be found not only in his hometown of Medellín but also in various cities worldwide, including London, Madrid, Barcelona, and Seattle. Botero once expressed his belief that art should bring pleasure and evoke positive emotions, even in the face of dramatic subjects. He acknowledged painting violence, torture, and the passion of Christ but emphasized the unique pleasure found in such dramatic works.

Fernando Botero's legacy as a celebrated Colombian artist will be remembered and cherished, as his works continue to captivate audiences and provoke thought.

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