Havana: Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied US efforts to topple him, died on Friday. He was 90.
With a shaking voice, his younger brother, Raul Castro, announced on state television that his brother died at 10:29 pm on Friday night.
Cuba declared nine days of public mourning on Saturday for Fidel Castro, and said his ashes will be buried at a ceremony on December 4 in Santiago de Cuba.
From November 26 to December 4, "public activities and shows will cease, the national flag will fly at half-mast on public buildings and military installations," a statement from the state executive said.
Castro`s ashes will be buried in the historic southeastern city of Santiago on December 4 after a four-day procession through the country, it added.
President Raul Castro earlier said that his older brother Fidel was to be cremated early Saturday.
A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that had struggled against colonial rule.
He had been in poor health since an intestinal ailment nearly killed him in 2006. He formally ceded power to his younger brother Raul Castro two years later.
The bearded Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution and ruled Cuba for 49 years with a mix of charisma and iron will, creating a one-party state and becoming a central figure in the Cold War.
He was demonized by the United States and its allies but admired by many leftists around the world, especially socialist revolutionaries in Latin America and Africa.
In April, in a rare public appearance at the Communist Party conference, Fidel Castro shocked party apparatchiks by referring to his own imminent mortality.
"Soon I will be like all the rest. Our turn comes to all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain," he said.
Also Read: Timeline of Fidel Castro's life
Castro was last seen by ordinary Cubans in photos showing him engaged in conversation with the Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang earlier this month.
(With Agency inputs)