Angela Castro, the eldest sister of Cuban revolutionary leaders Fidel and Raul Castro, died Feb. 28 in Havana, according to her sister Juanita.
At 88, Angela Castro was the first of the seven Castro brothers and sisters to die, and her passing served as another reminder of the looming mortality facing the entire clan. Fidel Castro, who stepped down in 2006, is 85; brother Raul, who took his place as president, is 80.
Angela Castro’s death was confirmed by Juanita Castro from her home in Miami. She told the Associated Press that her elder sister had Alzheimer’s disease.
Although her two older brothers became the most powerful men in Cuba, Angela Castro led a quiet life out of the public eye. She was divorced and is survived by five children, as well as grandchildren.
“She had been in a very delicate state for some time,” Juanita Castro said, adding that her sister was cremated and her ashes taken to a farm in the eastern Cuban town of Biran where she was born. The farm has been turned into a museum.
There was no confirmation of the death in Cuba’s state-run news media, and officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Both Fidel and Raul Castro have made a point of separating their personal and public lives and seldom reveal intimate details that would be considered routine biography in many other countries.
Angela Castro was the first of the seven children born to Angel Castro, a Spanish immigrant to Cuba, and his second wife, Lina Ruz. She was followed 18 months later by Ramon, who is now 87. Fidel Castro came next, followed by Juanita, Emma and Agustina. Raul Castro is the youngest.
Juanita Castro left Cuba in the 1960s and has been estranged from Fidel and Raul for years. But she is said to have maintained close ties to Angela and her other siblings.
Angela Castro had a fear of flying and so never left Cuba, Juanita Castro said.
— Associated Press