Fidel Castro: Like him or loath him, he had some life

Oliver Gill
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Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 (Source: Getty)

Fidel Castro has died, aged 90, Cuban state television confirmed this morning.

The man how came to power as part of a communist uprising in 1959 divides opinion. Whatever people do think of him, it can't be denied that he has had some excitement along the way.

Here are four facts about the man who was at the centre of some the twentieth century's best-known political historical events.

Read more: First US commercial flight to Cuba in more than 50 years lands

1 – Cigars

Cuba goes with cigars like Yorkshire goes with pudding. While Castro was often seen with a cigar in his mouth, for 21 or his 49 years in power he didn't actually smoke them, giving cigars up in 1985.

Fidel Castro
(Source: Getty)

Cigars were at he heart of one of the most embarrassing of the CIA's 638 alleged assassination attempts. US paper the Saturday Evening Post reported that in 1966 the New York City police chief inspector was approached by CIA agents with a plan to get Castro to smoke an exploding cigar during a visit to the United Nations.

2 – Horse

Like many successful political leaders Castro was something of sex-symbol for many of the Cuba's ladies.

Not a man to turn down responsibility, Castro obliged and was well-known as something of a womaniser,

This led to Cuban entertainer Benny More coining the nickname of "El Caballo" for Castro, meaning "the horse".

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (R)
(Source: Getty)

3 – Chatty man

Castro was well-known for the fact he liked to talk.

According to the United Nations, he delivered the longest ever speech at the organisation on 26 September 1960, a mere 4hrs 29mins in length.

Read more: US to end Cuban trade embargo after 50 years

Like a good sports team, he could perform much better when on home turf. His longest recorded speech took some seven and a half hours after being re-elected as president in 1998.

Members of China's delegation at the International
(Source: Getty)

4 – Longevity

The fella stuck around for a long time. Castro formerly passed on the reigns of running Cuba in 2008, 49 years after he started. This made him the world's third longest head of state after Britain's very own Queen Elizabeth and the King of Thailand.

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