Cuban state-run media has confirmed the death of Fidel Castro’s eldest son at the age of 68. Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart took his own life after a battle with depression, which he was being treated for by a group of doctors.
Just a year after the passing of his father, “Fidelito” was found dead in Havana, Cuba’s capital, where his father established himself as a revolutionary icon. He was the only son of Fidel and his wife Mirta Diaz-Balart. Before he took his life, he was a scientific adviser for the Cuban Council of State, as well as served as vice president of Cuba’s Academy of Sciences.
Leaving behind his wife, Maria Victoria Barreiro, and three children from his previous marriage, this comes as a surprise to the public eye as the personal lives of members of the Castro family were kept private. According to BBC, he was “loyal to the ideals of the Cuban revolution,” but had “grown weary” in recent years of living in his father’s shadows, and his lack of involvement in the Cuban decision-making on energy resources.
Authoring 11 books and over 150 scientific articles on nuclear physics, energy, and its relation to environmental studies, he had an immense interest in the sciences due to the revolution. He was the head of Cuba’s nuclear program from 1980 to 1992, leading efforts to construct a nuclear power plant.
According to Fox News, Cuban media reported that Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart was in a “deeply depressed state” in his last months, and “required an initial hospitalization then outpatient follow-up.” Despite the close aid he had been receiving, he succumbed to the battle he had been enduring.
Fidelito’s most public moment was arguably his worst. His father called on him to lead Cuba’s nuclear power program, and he seemed well on his way to greatness. However, that dream came tumbling down, as the Soviet Union’s implosion robbed Cuba. Additionally, immense technical and financial problems became an issue, and he was ultimately fired.
Although the paved his own path to greatness, the son of Fidel Castro always lived in the shadows of his father, which was unimaginably challenging. Though he left behind a legacy in the sciences, it would be second to his father’s, which proved to be a painful struggle until the time of his tragic passing.
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