Cuba's Fidel Castro dies aged 90

It is believed the revolutionary leader suffered from bad health in recent years and kept out of the public eye.

This file photo taken on 12 October 1995 shows Cuban President Fidel Castro saluting journalists. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - 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, has died, Cuban television said on Saturday. He was 90.

The details surrounding his death are not yet clear.

It is believed the revolutionary leader suffered from bad health in recent years and kept out of the public eye.

His brother Raul announced his death on state television on Saturday morning.

Raul took over from Castro in 2008 after the late statesman led as prime minister and president from 1959.

Castro was born on 13 August in 1926 in a small town in eastern Cuba.

He excelled at baseball and later enrolled as a law student at the University of Havana. It’s during his time there where his interest in politics was sparked, joining the anti-corruption Orthodox Party.

In July 1953, Castro led just over 100 men in an attack on the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The assault failed and Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison and many of his men were killed. He was granted amnesty in 1955.

Castro was at the forefront of condemning the apartheid government and demanded the release of Nelson Mandela. Cuba provided support to the liberation movement.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)