New Delhi: The leader of the communist revolution and Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, state TV reported on Saturday.
“The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this (Friday) evening,” the president Raul Castro announced on national television.
The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal after suffering a long battle with illness.
The revolutionary leader had ceded power to his brother in the year 2006 after he underwent an emergency intestinal surgery.
He was the Prime Minister of the country from 1959 to 2008.
His supporters praised him as a man who had given Cuba back to the people. But his opponents accused him of brutally suppressing opposition.
In April, Castro gave a rare speech on the final day of the country’s Communist Party congress.
He acknowledged his advanced age but said Cuban communist concepts were still valid and the Cuban people “will be victorious”.
“I’ll soon be 90,” the former president said, adding that this was “something I’d never imagined”.
“Soon I’ll be like all the others, to all our turn must come,” Fidel Castro said.
Born in 1926 in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba, Castro was imprisoned in 1953 after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista’s regime and was released in 1955 under an amnesty deal.
Castro was elected in 1976 as President by Cuba’s National Assembly; he reached an agreement in 1992 with US over Cuban refugees.