Foreign News - Former Cuban President Fidel Castro dies at 90

The controversial former president (pictured in 2001) ruled the country as a one-party state from 1959 to 2006
para-with-font" style="background-color: white; letter-spacing: -0.01em; line-height: 26px !important; margin-bottom: 18px !important; min-height: 0px; padding: 0px; text-align: justify;"> Fidel Castro, who led his native Cuba for nearly half a century and claimed to have survived more than 600 assassination attempts, has died at the age of 90.
With a shaking voice, his younger brother, Raul Castro, announced on state television that the Communist revolutionary died on Friday night.
World leaders have paid tribute to the revolutionary, who came to power in 1959, with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev praising him for 'strengthening' his island nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a 'symbol of an era', and said he was a 'distinguished statesman', and Pope Francis has said Castro's death is 'sad news'.
Nine days of public mourning for the deceased Cuban leader have been announced, when 'public activities and shows' will cease, and flags will fly at half mast.
The island's Council of State says state radio and television 'will maintain informative, patriotic and historic programming'.
Castro's ashes will be buried in the historic southeastern city of Santiago on December 4 after a four-day procession through the country.
Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother in 2006, told Cubans in the television announcement: 'Today, November 25, at 10.29pm, the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, passed away.
'In compliance with the expressed will of Companion Fidel, his remains will be cremated.'
He concluded his statement by saying: 'Onward to victory.
Castro's death comes just months after the Communist revolutionary predicted that his time on earth was nearly up. 
Among the first world figures to pay tribute to Castro was former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who praised him for 'strengthening' his island nation.
Gorbachev said: 'Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him and he still took his country out of this blockade to a path of independent development.' 
And current Russian President Vladimir Putin said: 'The name of this distinguished statesman is rightly considered the symbol of an era in modern world history. Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia.'
Putin added that Castro has managed to build a 'free and independent Cuba' that 'became an influential member of the international community and served as an inspiration for many countries and peoples'.
Pope Francis has said Castro's death was 'sad news', and in a message to Raul, said:'I express to you my sentiments of grief.'

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