"We will take my father to Colombia for a final farewell, first to Bogotá and then to Medellin," his hometown in the northwest of the country, Juan Carlos Botero, one of his sons, told Colombian radio.

Quoted by local media, the family assured that the remains of the artist would be Thursday in the capital and that it would then be transferred to Medellin, where several events will be organized in memory of the most famous Colombian painter and sculptor in the world.

Fernando Botero died Friday in Monaco of pneumonia. According to his son, the artist, famous for his voluptuous characters, had expressed the wish that his body be taken temporarily to his country after his death.

"We are doing everything we need to do to carry out his last wishes... He wanted to say goodbye to his people (...) he lived grateful to the Colombian people," Botero said.

"He never asked for tribute" but "it is understandable that people want to say goodbye to him and he wanted to say goodbye to his people," Botero added.

Botero had donated dozens of his works to his hometown, where they are exhibited in museums but also in parks, on public roads. Medellin decreed seven days of mourning, with various tributes and demonstrations, at the announcement of the master's death.

Along with Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Botero was one of the most famous Colombians in the world. His creations have been exhibited all over the world, and reached several million dollars at auctions in New York and London.

According to his daughter Lina Botero, he continued to paint in watercolor until his last days, but "not in oil because he had trouble standing".

© 2023 AFP