MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Former Panamanian dictator and convicted drug trafficker Manuel Noriega has died following complications from brain surgery.
A onetime U.S. ally and CIA informant, Noriega died two months after undergoing surgery in Panama City to remove a benign tumor from his brain.
Panama’s current president announced the former dictator’s death on Twitter saying his passing marked the closing of a chapter in Panama’s history.
Noriega, ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989 – a period marked by corruption and murder of political opponents.
For a time, he was a key U.S. ally until ties to drug trafficking and working with the likes of drug lord Pablo Escobar led to his ousting in 1989.
In what was then the largest American military action since the Vietnam War, thousands of American troops invaded the country and captured Noriega.
The first foreign head of state to be convicted in a U.S. court, Noriega spent the rest of his life in custody between the United States, France and Panama for crimes ranging from murder to racketeering and drug running.
Noriega was put on house arrest this past January – a move allowing him to prepare for his upcoming surgery.
His final days were spent in a hospital in a medically induced coma after he suffered a hemorrhage. He was 83-years-old. Noriega is survived by his wife and three daughters.