Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro dies at 90

Castro ruled the country for half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008

Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro dies at 90

Father of Communist Cuba, Fidel Castro, who had led the country nearly five decades, died at 90, Cuban state TV has announced.

"The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening," the president and brother Raul Castro reportedly announced on national television.

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Castro ruled the country from 1976 to 2008 before handing over the powers to his brother Raul Castro.  In 2006, Fidel had retreated from public sphere following an emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding, and had temporarily handed over the power to his younger brother and defence minister Raul Castro.

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Fidel Castro, known as a strong leader who led the country country with courage, was the world's third longest-serving head of state, after Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.

Castro was born August 13, 1926, in eastern Cuba's sugar country, where his Spanish immigrant father worked first as a recruiting labor for U.S. sugar companies. The revolutionary leader attended Jesuit schools and then went to the University of Havana, where he received law and social science degrees.

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Popular as a brutal army leader for his opponents , Castro's life as a rebel began in 1953 with a reckless attack on the Moncada military barracks in the eastern city of Santiago.

In April this year, Fidel Castro had given a rare speech in one of his most extensive public appearance in years.

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“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Fidel Castro said while talking at the final day of the country's Communist Party congress.

“Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervour and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them,” he added.

Reports said Fidel Castro will be interred in a cemetery on December 4 in the eastern city of Santiago, following several days of mourning. Castro's ashes will make a cross-country tour from Havana to Santiago, starting from Wednesday.

Important dates in Fidel's life

1926: Born in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba

1953: Imprisoned after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista's regime

1955: Released from prison under an amnesty deal

1956: With Che Guevara, begins a guerrilla war against the government

1959: Defeats Batista, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba

1960: Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles

1962: Sparks Cuban missile crisis by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba

1976: Elected president by Cuba's National Assembly

1992: Reaches an agreement with US over Cuban refugees

2008: Stands down as president of Cuba due to health issues
Source: BBC News/BBC History

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