Cuban revolutionary Juan Almeida, 82, dies

Sept. 12, 2009 at 9:21 PM

HAVANA, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Cuban revolutionary leader Juan Almeida Bosque has died in Havana at the age of 82, the government said in declaring 24 hours of mourning.

Almeida died Friday of a heart attack, the Havana Times reported Saturday.

After becoming friends with Fidel Castro in 1952, Almeida fought at his side until they overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, the Times reported. On Jan. 1, Almeida sat with President Raul Castro as they marked the 50th anniversary of their entrance into Havana.

Almeida was one of the few blacks in top government positions and at the time of his death was a vice president on the Council of State, Cuba's main governing body.

He also was a composer, best known for "La Lupe," a romantic song that alludes to a Mexican woman Bosque left behind when he departed Mexico for Cuba to fight Batista's dictatorship.

Almeida will be buried in Santiago de Cuba, the Times said.

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