Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (August 13, 1926 - November 25, 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary leader who led his country from January 1959 until February 2008. He took power in an armed revolution that overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and was shortly thereafter sworn in as the Prime Minister of Cuba. In 1965 he became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and led the transformation of Cuba into a one-party socialist republic. In 2008, a very ill Castro officially gave up the office of the presidency, turning power over to his brother. During his retirement he wrote lengthy essays commenting on the issues of the day, which were published by the state-run newspapers.