RARA-AVIS: Gregorio Fuentes died

From: Jose Latour ( alaiep@cubarte.cult.cu)
Date: 14 Jan 2002

The other day, responding to Miker, I wrote:

Finca Vigia is a shrine in fact, the Pilar included. Norberto Fuentes wrote Hemingway's biography (well, it's not a biography, it's an account of his years in Cuba). Hemingway's skipper is also Fuentes, and he's 102 years old. Can you believe it? Has smoked cigars all his life.

I got this wire a few minutes ago and thought some of you may like to learn that:

Gregorio Fuentes, Hemingway¹s boat captain in Cuba, dead at 104 AP Photos HAV101,103; NY184,185 HAVANA (AP) ­ Gregorio Fuentes, who was Ernest Hemingway¹s boat captain when the late writer lived in Cuba, died Sunday at age 104, his family said. Fuentes had suffered from cancer. For nearly 30 years, Fuentes was captain, cook and friend to the American writer. Many say he was the inspiration for the protagonist in Hemingway¹s classic "The Old Man and the Sea." "He died in the house he had always lived in," his grandson Rafael Fuentes, 48, told The Associated Press. He was buried Sunday afternoon. Fuentes had lived in Cojimar, a coastal city about 10 miles east of Havana since arriving in Cuba as an orphan at age 6. Born on July 11, 1897 in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Fuentes was traveling to Cuba when his father, the ship¹s cook, died on board. The young orphan was taken in by other Canary Island immigrants who cared for him until he reached adolescence. Hemingway and Fuentes met in 1928, and in the 1930s the writer hired the mariner for $250 a month to care for his boat, El Pilar. Before returning to the United States in 1960, Hemingway stopped by Fuentes¹ Cojimar home to say goodbye.
"Take care of yourself has you have known how," Fuentes once remembered Hemingway as telling him. Fuentes later inherited El Pilar and donated it to the Cuban government, which displays it outside Hemingway¹s former home, now a museum on the outskirts of Havana. Fuentes is survived by four daughters, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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