Medicine

Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro dies at 90

Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro dies at 90

Cuba's former president, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has died, according to Cuban state media.

"What Fidel achieved in the social order of this country has not been achieved by any poor nation, and even by many rich countries, despite being submitted to enormous pressures", said Jose Ramon Fernandez, a former Cuban vice president.

The revolutionary icon, one of the world's best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless United States assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal after suffering a long battle with illness.

The iconic leftist revolutionary, handed over power in 2008 to his younger brother Raul due to ill health.

The US, however, completely misread the mood of the Cuban people who rather than turning their backs on Castro rose up in support of their leader and massacred the invaders.

His supporters lauded him for creating the first communist nation in the western hemisphere and carrying the party into the 21st century, while his detractors have targeted him for suppressing opposition and sending many citizens into political prisons and labour camps.

In April, Castro gave a rare speech to the Communist Party, saying he would die soon.

He acknowledged his advanced age but said Cuban communist concepts were still valid and the Cuban people "will be victorious".

"I have never been afraid of death", Castro said in 2002.

-November 25, 2016: Fidel Castro dies aged 90, Raul Castro announces.

He was taken prisoner and jailed for 15 years, but was released in a general amnesty in 1955 before going into exile in Mexico and the US.

Cuban-American relations were to reach crisis level a year later when United States spy satellites discovered the groundwork for a long-range Soviet missile base on Cuba. Their assessment stemmed from Castro's public appearances and the opinions of doctors employed by the agency.

Born in Biran, Cuba, into a wealthy farming family, he was educated at Jesuit schools before studying law at the University of Havana.

Leads a failed attack on Santiago de Cuba's Moncada military barracks.

Yet, despite the constant threat of a United States invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.