Havana: Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90.

With a shaking voice, his younger brother, Raul Castro, announced on state television that his brother died on Friday night. Castro’s reign over the island-nation 90 miles from Florida was marked by the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

The bearded revolutionary, who survived a crippling US trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died eight years after ill health forced him to formally hand power over to Raul.

Cuba declared nine days of public mourning on Saturday for Fidel Castro, and said his ashes will be buried at a ceremony on December 4 in Santiago de Cuba.

From November 26 to December 4, “public activities and shows will cease, the national flag will fly at half mast on public buildings and military installations,” a statement from the state executive said.