Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president, dies aged 90

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States, and for five decades defied its efforts to topple him has died at 90, Cuban television is reporting. Castro died on Friday at 7 p.m. Castro and his guerrilla forces were responsible for overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1958.

He ruled the country with an iron fist and his close ties to other Communist nations led to frayed relations with the US. Diplomatic relations between the two countries almost led to a nuclear confrontation during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Castro stepped down from office in 2008 and his brother Raul Castro took over.

Fidel Castro’s key dates:

1926: Born in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba
1953: Imprisoned after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista’s regime
1955: Released from prison under an amnesty deal
1956: With Che Guevara, begins a guerrilla war against the government
1959: Defeats Batista, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba
1960: Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles
1962: Sparks Cuban missile crisis by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba
1976: Elected president by Cuba’s National Assembly
1992: Reaches an agreement with US over Cuban refugees
2008: Stands down as president of Cuba due to health issues