The drug lord’s cartel supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the US at the height of his career – making $21.9bn (£17.2bn) a year.
Forbes listed him as the world’s seventh richest man in 1989 with an estimated net worth of $9bn (£7bn).
Often called “The King of Cocaine,” Escobar was one of the wealthiest criminals in history.
He was gunned down in his home city of Medellin by police on 2 December 1993, a day after his 44th birthday.
On the anniversary of his death, people are paying tribute to Escobar in the neighbourhood where he donated 443 houses to formerly homeless people.
One resident, Maria Eugenia Castano, said: “I see him like a second God. To me, God is first, and then him.”
Hair stylist Yamile Zapata, who works at a beauty salon that sells Escobar merchandise, said: “Pablo will confuse you.”
“If you want to look at the good side, he was very good. If you want to look at the bad, he was very bad.”
Escobar’s eight-storey mansion, the Monaco, has fallen into disrepair since his death.
It was once a symbol of the infinite wealth of the Colombian mafia in the 1980s and 90s.
The white building is set to be demolished in February, in an event complete with stands for people to watch.
“The Monaco has become an anti-symbol, in a place where some people are outspoken defenders of crime and terrorism,” said Manuel Villa, the city hall secretary who will perform the official countdown to the detonation.
“We don’t want any more children saying they want to be Pablo Escobar when they grow up.”
The derelict property still bears the scars of Colombia’s first car bombing in 1988 – which marked the beginning of a bloody war between the country’s rival cartels.
The mansion, a top tourist attraction in the upmarket El Poblado neighbourhood, will be replaced by a public park dedicated to the thousands of people killed in Colombia by “narcoterrorism”.
The park will cost an estimated $2.5m (£1.9m), while renovating and reinforcing the crumbling mansion would have cost $11m (£8.6m), according to the city.
“It will be painful” to tear it down, said Mr Villa, “but it’s the only way we can heal our wounds”.
Colombian society remains deeply divided over Escobar’s legacy, as well as other drug barons.
Angela Zuluago is among those who want to wipe out the country’s lingering “narco culture”.
Her father was a judge named Gustavo Zuluaga, who was killed by Escobar hitmen for issuing an arrest warrant against their boss before she was born.
“Creating a space to remember the victims means having a space where we attempt to symbolically compensate those of us who have suffered from the scourge of narcoterrorism,” she said.
On the other side of the cultural divide, Escobar’s sister, Luz Maria Escobar, is changing his tombstone.
The new inscription reads: “Beyond the legend you symbolise today, few know the true essence of your life.”
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