Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies at age 90

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Nov. 26, 2016 at 1:11 AM
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HAVANA, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba who led a communist revolution on the island nation, died Friday, state-run media reported. He was 90.

President Raúl Castro, Fidel's brother, announced his death on national television.

"The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at [10:29 p.m.] this evening," Raul Castro said.

The cause of Castro's death was not revealed, but his failing health fueled speculation about various illnesses in his later years.

Castro served as president of Cuba from 1976 until 2008, when he abdicated power to his brother, Raúl Castro. Raúl acted as president during the last two years of his brother's tenure.

A Marxist-Leninist and Cuban nationalist Castro led Cuba to become a one-party communist state bent on ending years of government corruption under the previous regime.

He was born in 1926 in Biran to a wealthy farmer and grew up to study politics at university. He was a leader in the eventual overthrow of former President Fulgencio Batista, and became prime minister of the country in 1959 until 1976.

Castro's supporters praised him for ending the corruption, human rights abuses and restrictions of freedoms experienced under the Batista regime. They championed his push for free healthcare and education.

His detractors, though, also accuse him of human rights abuses and for quashing opposition voices.

After handing power to his brother, Fidel spent the last years of his life in obscurity.

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