Mexico has bid farewell to its adopted son, the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with thousands of fans filing past his ashes in a music-filled tribute to the Nobel laureate.

A coffee-coloured urn containing his ashes was placed on a pedestal and surrounded by yellow roses - his favorite flowers - in Mexico City's domed Fine Arts Palace.

Fans paid their last respects to the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, taking pictures as a string quartet played.

Guests applauded when his widow, Mercedes Barcha, and sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo, stood as honour guards.

The presidents of Mexico and Colombia spoke to honour Garcia Marquez.

"We join together to pay tribute to the one who, from icy Stockholm in December 1982, touched the world by speaking about solitude in Latin America," said the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, of Marquez's Nobel prize.

His Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, called Garcia Marquez "the greatest Latin American novelist of all time".

"We, Mexicans, love him and will always love him," he said.

Outside, thousands of yellow paper butterflies were blown into the air, a nod to the fluttering insects that follow a man in his masterpiece of magical realism, "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

Known as "Gabo", Garcia Marquez died on Thursday in Mexico City. He was 87.

The cause of his death has not been disclosed but he died a week after a bout of pneumonia.

Garcia Marquez was also remembered in his native Colombia.

A small march took place in front of his childhood home in Aracataca, with people dressed in white and held marigolds in his honour.

Garcia Marquez's family has not said where his final resting place will be.

Source: AFP