(CNN)Fidel Castro, the Cuban despot who famously proclaimed after his arrest in a failed coup attempt that history would absolve him, has died aged 90.
Castro’s brother, Raul, announced his death on Cuban TV.
At the end, an elderly and infirm Castro was a whisper of the Marxist firebrand whose iron will and passionate determination bent the arc of destiny.
“There are few individuals in the 20th century who had a more profound impact on a single country than Fidel Castro had in Cuba,” Robert Pastor, a former national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, told CNN in 2012.
“He reshaped Cuba in his image, for both bad and good,” said Pastor, who died in 2014. “Cuba will be a different place because he lived and he died.”
Castro lived long enough to see a historic thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States. The two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in July 2015 and President Barack Obama visited the island earlier this year.
Cuban President Raul Castro — who took over from his ailing brother more than eight years earlier — announced the breakthrough to the nation, but observers noted Fidel’s silence on the matter.
Castro’s stage was a small island nation 90 miles from the underbelly of the United States, but he commanded worldwide attention.