President Shimon Peres on Friday expressed his condolences to the family of the late Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday night.

One of the most revered and influential writers of his generation, García Márquez brought Latin America’s charm and maddening contradictions to life in the minds of millions and became the best-known practitioner of “magical realism,” a blending of fantastic elements into portrayals of daily life that made the extraordinary seem almost routine.

García Márquez’s own epic story ended Thursday, at age 87, with his death at his home in southern Mexico City, according to two people close to the family who spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for the family’s privacy.

In a missive to his family, Peres wrote that “the world has become a poorer place with the passing of the great dreamer who told such beautiful stories to our children and unveiled to us, the grown-ups, the real truth of the world.

“Gabriel García Márquez had the magical ability to weave stories that touched the deepest cords in our hearts and evoked images of love and longing that became immortal,” Peres said. “I had the privilege to meet him in Colombia and he showed great interest in peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He said to me, ‘As long as your land is split, my heart is broken and I pray every day for your peace.’

“He will hover over the skies of Israel as a great message, an encouraging prayer,” wrote the president.

Known to millions simply as “Gabo,” García Márquez was widely seen as the Spanish language’s most popular writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century. His extraordinary literary celebrity spawned comparisons with Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

World leaders noted the passing of García Márquez, offering their condolences to his family and noting his writing’s impact on their lives.

“With the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers — and one of my favorites from the time I was young… I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo’s work will live on for generations to come,” US President Barack Obama said.

“From the time I read One Hundred Years of Solitude more than 40 years ago, I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty… I was honored to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years,” said former US president Bill Clinton.