Castro was "a giant among global leaders": President Michael D Higgins

The former Cuban leader has died aged 90

Castro was "a giant among global leaders": President Michael D Higgins

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

President Michael D Higgins has released a statement following the death of Fidel Castro, saying he will be remembered "as a giant among global leaders".

The former Cuban leader died last night  at the age of 90.

"Fidel Castro was of a generation of leaders that sought offer an alternative global economic and social order", the statements reads. "He was President of the Non Aligned Movement and a leading figure in international gatherings that sought a more equal world of trade, rejected odious debt and sought an independent path to development.

"The restoration of diplomatic relations with the United States in 2014 and the visit of Pope Francis, and the response to it, have been ushering in a new period in Cuba’s history, one which seeks to retain the achievements of a social kind with greater freedoms in the civil society.

"Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet.” 

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "I would like to express my condolences to the people of Cuba at this time. While his legacy is a complex one, Fidel Castro was a major figure in twentieth century history and his death marks the end of an era." 

US President-elect Donald Trump has reacted to the news on Twitter:

Announcing the news on state television, President, Raul Castro said: "Dear people of Cuba, with deep sadness I inform our people, the friends of our America and the world, that today... the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, has died".

Raul Castro, 85, added that his brother would be cremated on Saturday before a period of national mourning.

He concluded: "Until the everlasting victory, always."

A defining figure of the 20th century, Fidel Castro took power following a revolution in 1959, to become at 32, the youngest leader in Latin America, and fended off a US-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs two years later.

For more on Castro's death and legacy, click here.