Former Cuban President and communist leader Fidel Castro is dead, according to President Raul Castro.
President Castro announced -- without many specific details on a late nation-wide broadcast --that Fidel had died and his body will be cremated on Saturday.
In honor of the death of the iconic Cuban leader, the nation will be spending the next several days in mourning.
Castro was the only living national leader to hold onto power longer than Queen Elizabeth II when he provisionally surrendered some of his power to his younger brother and current president Raul after being bedridden for a year and a half in 2008.
Castro came to power after defeating Fulgencio Batista and being declared the prime minister of Cuba in 1959. Two years later, from the top of a tank, he led the Cuban army's defense against the United States in the Bay of Pigs invasion. At the same time, he declared the revolution in Cuba to be "Marxist-Leninist in nature" and allied to the Soviet Union.
For years, the United States dealt with the threat of a nearby Communist revolution in Cuba with a leader who outlasted multiple presidents and various attempts on his life. His defiance of the United States became iconic as a symbol of rebellion in the last century.
Fidel Castro's health had been declining in recent years, forcing him to step down from leading the Communist Revolution. He hoped that, despite no longer being in charge, his brother Raul would continue what that Fidel had started after declaring the revolution as Communist in the 60s.
Although he was elected president by the Cuban National Assembly in 1976, his leadership was marked by his absolute control over Cuba. Some people hailed Castro as a national hero for his actions in the Cuban Revolution, while others saw him as a "ruthless despot who trampled rights and freedoms."
Castro last gave a public speech in April of this year to the Cuban Communist Party's congress. He was well aware of his age but was confident in the victory of the Cuban people.
"I'll soon be 90," said Castro. "Soon I'll be like all the others. To all, our turn must come."