Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who is said to have survived over 600 assassination attempts, has died at the age of 90.
Cuban President and younger brother to Fidel, Raul Castro, announced his death on Friday on state-run Cuban television.
Fidel Castro was born on August 13, 1926 to a wealthy Spanish immigrant farmer and a Cuban mother. He studied law at the University of Havana.
Castro became embroiled in activism thereafter, leading a small rebel force that attacked a major military base in 1953 in an attempt to topple Fulgencio Batista.
The attempt failed and Castro was jailed for two years. Upon release, he went into exile in Mexico, where he again organized a small group of revolutionaries to oust the unpopular dictator.
Castro was successful this time, successfully ousting Batista in 1959 to introduce a Communist revolution. He was aged thirty-two.
Fidel Castro was cheered on as he addressed his people even more so when a white dove landed on him as he spoke at the conquered dictator’s military headquarters. It was a sign to many that the bearded guerilla leader would be the nation’s savior.
Fidel Castro went on to rule Cuba with an iron fist and within two years of taking power, allied the island nation to the Soviets declaring his revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature.
Fidel Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution despite constant invasion threats from the United States and scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.
He held on to power for almost half a century serving as the longest non-royal leader of the 20th Century.
Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul in July 2006 after he underwent intestinal surgery and was unfit to continue ruling.
Raul Castro also announced that the remains of the revolutionary leader would be cremated as stipulated in his will.
Fidel Castro Tributes
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev led the tributes, saying he was a man of courage who stood up and strengthened his country despite colossal external pressure.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called Castro a “great friend” of Mexico, while El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren described him as an “eternal companion”.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga called Fidel Castro a great and true friend of Africa for helping in the fight to attain freedom from colonialism.