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Fidel Castro dies at 90


Cuban leader Fidel Castro has died at age 90, his brother Raul announced on state television in the early morning hours Saturday.

{mosads}Raul Castro made a brief TV statement around 12:30 a.m. Eastern. 

“It is with great pain I come to inform our country, friends of our America, and the world that today, Nov. 25, 2016 at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died,” he said. 

Castro’s funeral will be Dec. 4 in Santiago, Cuba, after a nine-day mourning period and a tour of his ashes through the island country, according to multiple reports.

The former communist leader’s health had been failing for several years, and his brother took control of the government in 2008. 

Castro led the Cuban Revolution, taking power in 1959.

His uninterrupted 50-year reign saw the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis and a relationship with the U.S. that deteriorated to near-complete isolation under heavy trade and travel restrictions president after president.

President Obama moved last year to normalize relations between the two countries, becoming the first president to visit Cuba in about 80 years. While there, he met with Raul Castro, but not Fidel. 

The first commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba took place earlier this year. 

Fidel Castro later blasted the visit, writing, “We don’t need the empire to give us anything.” 

Shortly after Obama’s visit, Castro delivered a rare speech to the Communist Party, urging his followers to carry his ideas forth after his death. 

“This may be one of the last times I speak in this room,” he said. “We must tell our brothers in Latin America and the world that the Cuban people will be victorious.”

In his minute-and-a-half remarks, Raul Castro said details about a funeral would be forthcoming, and said his brother wished to be cremated. 

“To victory, always!” he concluded. 

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