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Luis Sepúlveda, Chilean writer, dies of coronavirus at 70

April 16, 2020 GMT
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FILE - In this June 16, 2017 file photo, Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda, author of "Un viejo que leía novelas de amor" poses during an interview in. Gijon, Spain. Sepulveda died after a month-and-a-half fight against the new COVID-19 coronavirus, the government of Asturias, the northern region of Spain where he lived, confirmed Thursday April 16, 2020. He was 70 years old. (Marta Fernandez/Europa Press via AP, File)
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FILE - In this June 16, 2017 file photo, Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda, author of "Un viejo que leía novelas de amor" poses during an interview in. Gijon, Spain. Sepulveda died after a month-and-a-half fight against the new COVID-19 coronavirus, the government of Asturias, the northern region of Spain where he lived, confirmed Thursday April 16, 2020. He was 70 years old. (Marta Fernandez/Europa Press via AP, File)

MADRID (AP) — Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda, author of the novel “The Old Man Who Read Love Stories,” has died after a six-week battle with the new coronavirus. He was 70 years old.

The Spanish regional government of Asturias, where Sepúlveda lived, confirmed his death Thursday. It gave no further details.

Sepúlveda showed the first symptoms of infection at the end of February when he attended a literary festival in the north of Portugal. At the time he thought it was flu.

Later identified as one of the first cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, he was admitted to a hospital on Feb. 29 in Spain, officials from the Asturias government told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.

Born in Ovalle, Chile, in 1949, Sepúlveda fled his country in 1977 amid Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. After living in Germany in the 1990s, he moved to Gijón in Spain.

Sepúlveda also wrote “The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly” and was a political activist.

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