The comandante overthrew Batista, established a communist state and survived countless American assassination attempts
Cuba has declared nine days of national mourning to mark the death of Fidel Castro, whose demise at the age of 90 has prompted emotional scenes in Havana and Miami, tributes and reflections from world leaders, and ushered the island into an uncertain era.
The US president, Barack Obama who two years ago brokered a deal to restore diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana for the first time since they were severed in 1961 offered his condolences and said the thoughts and prayers of the US were with the Cuban people.
We know that this moment fills Cubans in Cuba and in the United States with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation, he said. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
He urged Cubans to remember that they had a friend and partner in the United States of America.
The US president-elect, Donald Trump, referred to Castro as a brutal dictator who had oppressed his people for nearly six decades.
Fidel Castros legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights, he said. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
The contrasting language from Obama and his successor suggests Trump may take a less conciliatory line on the USs recently renewed relationship with its smaller neighbour, a relationship already seen as one of the main legacies of Obamas presidency.
Castro, one of the worlds best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal and died late on Friday night after a long battle with illness.
Given the former presidents age and health problems, the announcement of his death had long been expected. But when it came it was still a shock: the comandante a figurehead for armed struggle across the developing world was no more. It was news that friends and foes had long dreaded and yearned for respectively.
Castros younger brother, Ral, who assumed the presidency of Cuba in 2006 after Fidel suffered a near-fatal intestinal ailment, announced the revolutionary leaders death on television on Friday night. With profound sadness I am appearing to inform our people and our friends across [Latin] America and the world that today, 25 November 2016, at 10.29pm, Fidel Castro, the commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution, died, he said. In accordance with his wishes, his remains will be cremated.
Ral Castro concluded his address with the famous revolutionary slogan: Ever onwards to victory!
On Saturday, the Cuban government announced Castros ashes would be interred at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba on 4 December. The cemetery is the resting place of 19th-century Cuban independence hero Jos Mart and numerous other leading figures in the countrys torrid history.