The artist continued to paint in his studio until he contracted pneumonia, which led to his hospitalization. On Thursday, however, he was discharged from the hospital.
Botero's artistic journey began in his youth when he worked as an illustrator for the newspaper El Colombiano. This experience paved the way for him to hold his first solo exhibition at the Leo Matiz Gallery in Bogota in 1951 when he was just 19 years old.
The painter studied in Colombia and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. He began exhibiting in the 1960s in the United States, where he showcased his first collection of figurative art at the Milwaukee Art Center.
Mis más sinceras condolencias por la pérdida de Fernando Botero. El mundo del arte llora la partida de un maestro en la pintura, el dibujo y la escultura. Su legado perdurará en cada trazo, en cada volumen, en cada obra que creó. Su creatividad y talento han dejado una huella… pic.twitter.com/VGm7LxdaOJ
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's text reads, "My most sincere condolences for the loss of Fernando Botero. The art world mourns the departure of a master in painting, drawing, and sculpture. His legacy will endure in every stroke, figure, and work he created. His creativity and talent have left an indelible mark on the history of art. Rest in peace, maestro Botero!
Botero leaves behind a vast body of work that spans from his distinctive Mona Lisa to his depictions of rotund dancing couples. He also created sculptures that adorn corners of the world, particularly his hometown of Medellín, where he gifted dozens of pieces.
"Fernando Botero has left us. The painter of our traditions and flaws, the painter of our virtues, the painter of our violence and peace. The painter of the dove, a symbol often rejected and repeatedly restored to its throne," Colombian President Gustavo Petro remarked, alluding to the sculpture of a dove that Botero gifted to the Nariño House to commemorate the 2016 peace agreement.
"We deeply mourn the loss of Fernando Botero, one of Colombia's and the world's greatest artists. He was always generous with his country, a great friend, and a passionate advocate for peace," former President Juan Manuel Santos said.