Mr Garcia Marquez, whose health had been poor, was prolific with stories of love and longing that brought Latin America to life for his fans and put magical realism on the literary map.
The former newspaper reporter's masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
Mr Garcia Marquez had returned home from hospital last week after a bout of pneumonia.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the death.
Mr Garcia Marquez - Gabo to his friends and fans - was Latin America's best-known and most beloved author and his books have sold in the tens of millions.
Although he produced stories, essays and several short novels such as Leaf Storm" and No One Writes to the Colonel in the 1950s and early 1960s, he struggled for years to find his voice as a novelist.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was such an instant success on publication in 1967 that it was dubbed "Latin America's Don Quixote" by late Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.
The novel, which tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family, sold more than 30 million copies and helped fuel a boom in Latin American fiction.
Mr Garcia Marquez said he found inspiration for the book by drawing on childhood memories of his grandmother's stories - laced with folklore and superstition but delivered with the straightest of faces.