Fidel Castro, former president of Cuba, is dead at the age of 90.
According to BBC News, Cuban state television reported his death late Saturday evening, though no further details were provided.
Castro ran Cuba for nearly 50 years before turning the reins over to his brother, Raúl. Castro retired due to health problems in 2008. Fidel’s reign as leader of Cuba was one of the longest of any communist head of state.
He became the prime minister of Cuba in 1959. He was in power during the Cuban Missile Crisis during the JFK administration, a 13-day standoff between Kennedy and then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Castro became president of Cuba in 1976 and remained in the role until his retirement.
The Guardian wrote of his death:
“Confirmation of his death will trigger celebrations in Miami, the centre of Cuba’s exile community, and mourning among leftwing admirers around the world. For many Cubans on the island who grew up in his shadow, simultaneously respecting and resenting him, it will be a moment of profound ambivalence.
One thing all could agree on was that this extraordinary figure left his mark on history.”
Indeed — he left his mark.
Watch a rare appearance by Fidel Castro at his 90th birthday gala, just a few months ago: