Cuban defense minister dies of heart attack aged 75

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The Cuban defense minister, Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro, died on Saturday of a heart attack at the age of 75, local media reported, quoting a politburo statement.

The Cuban defense minister, Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro, died on Saturday of a heart attack at the age of 75, local media reported, quoting a politburo statement.

Casas fought in the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959 and oversaw the Cuban military's lucrative economic enterprises for years before succeeding Raul Castro as defense minister in early 2008, when Castro became president.

The late general was also a vice president of the Council of State, Cuba's supreme governing body.

Casas died at 1:20 pm in Havana, the state-run Prensa Latina news agency said.

The general's body was cremated according to his wishes. He was to be buried in a mausoleum in the Sierra Maestra mountain range in eastern Cuba.

The Cuban government has declared three days of national mourning for the general.

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