Cuban state television announced that Fidel Castro had died at age 90. According to a report from the BBC, state television did not disclose any other details about the former president of Cuba's death. Castro's younger brother and Cuba's current president, Raul, announced his death, according to a Washington Post report.For nearly a decade, Raul had taken over leadership of Cuba, serving as the country's president since 2008.
Born Aug. 13. 1926 in Birán, Cuba, Castro served as Cuba's leader for nearly 50 years. He led the communist revolution in Cuba, overthrowing Fulgencio Batista and taking political control in 1959 and serving as self-appointed leader until handing over provisional power to Raul in 2006 and then officially in 2008.
Castro took power in Cuba during the height of the Cold War. Almost immediately into Castro's tenure, the United States fast distrusted his communist revolution and close relationship with the Soviet Union. In April 1961, Castro successfully rebuffed the Bay of Pigs invasion, during which 1,400 Cuban exiles trained by the United States attempted to overthrow Castro's communist regime. The failed invasion became a tremendous embarrassment for the United States and John F. Kennedy's administration.
The next year, tensions between the two countries would escalate further with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the infamous 13 days in October 1962 when, many historians believe, the world came close to the brink of nuclear war. Castro allowed the Soviet Union to store nuclear missiles on Cuban soil, just 90 miles away from the United States, a move that Kennedy called "an explicit threat to the peace and security of all the Americas” on national television. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended when the Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove the weapons and Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba.
During one of his last public appearances in April 2016, nearly a decade after he had effectively stopped serving as leader of Cuba, Castro said, “Our turn comes to us all, but the ideas of Cuban communism will endure.”