1. He held onto power for a long time, making him the world’s third longest serving head of state, after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the King of Thailand.
2. His hold on the top office means he outlasted nine US presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H W Bush, Clinton). He officially stepped down in 2008 (George W Bush was in power until 2009). However, illness had forced him to relinquish power in 2006.
3. A man of many words, he made the Guinness record book for the longest timed speech at the UN, clocking 4 hours and 29 minutes on September 26, 1960.
4. He claims he survived 634 assassination attempts, chiefly masterminded by the CIA including poison pills, a toxic cigar and chemically tainted diving suit.
5. Many iconic photos of Castro show him puffing on a cigar but he gave up the habit in 1985 saying “The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is give them to your enemy.”
6. The family man had nine children from five women. One of his daughters Alina Fernandez escaped Cuba disguised as a tourist in 1993, moving first to Spain and then Miami and has been a vocal critic of the Castro regime.