HAVANA: The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, committed suicide on Thursday aged 68 after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.
Castro Diaz-Balart, also known as "Fidelito" because of how much he looked like his father, had initially been hospitalized for depression and then continued treatment as an outpatient.
"Castro Diaz-Balart, who had been attended by a group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning," Cubadebate website said.
Fidelito was born in 1949 out of his father`s brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart before he went on to topple a U.S.-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States during the Cold War.
Through his mother, he was the cousin of some of Castro`s most bitter enemies in the Cuban American exile community, U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and former U.S. congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
He was also the subject of a dramatic custody dispute. Cuba biographers say his mother took him with her to the United States when he was aged five after announcing she wanted a divorce from Castro, while he was imprisoned for an attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago.
Castro was able to bring Fidelito back to Cuba after the 1959 revolution.
A nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart had been working as a scientific counselor to the Cuban Council of State and Vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the time of his death.
Previously, from 1980 to 1992, he was head of Cuba`s national nuclear programme, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean`s largest island until his father fired him.
Cuba halted its plant plans that same year because of a lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba`s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc and Castro Diaz-Balart largely disappeared from public view, appearing at the occasional scientific conference.
His death came just over a year after that of his father on Nov. 25, 2016, aged 90.