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File photo taken on Aug. 12, 2014 shows people taking photos of a picture of Fidel Castro prior to his 88th birthday in Havana, Cuba
File photo taken on Aug. 12, 2014 shows people taking photos of a picture of Fidel Castro prior to his 88th birthday in Havana, Cuba

MOSCOW, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his condolences to the Cuban government over the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who died late Friday at the age of 90, the Kremlin press service said Saturday.

"The name of this outstanding statesman is considered to be a symbol of an entire era in modern world history. A free and independent Cuba built by him and his colleagues has become an influential member of the international community and served as an inspiring example for many countries and nations," Putin was quoted as saying in a Kremlin statement.

Accrediting Castro as a "sincere and reliable friend of Russia," Putin spoke highly of his contributions to the development of Russian-Cuban relations and their "strategic cooperation."

"His memory will always remain in the hearts of the Russian people," Putin added.

Castro had led Cuba for nearly half a century before stepping down in 2006 for health reasons. He was succeeded by his brother Raul Castro.

Fidel Castro spent the last years of his life largely out of the public eye, writing editorials on world affairs for Cuba's official Granma daily, and receiving dignitaries at his home in Havana.

Shocked by his death, Cubans go out to mourn the revolutionary leader with great sorrow on the streets in Havana.