MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro turned 87 years old Tuesday and as the country he spent more than a half century in charge of moves forward, the once boisterous revolutionary has largely disappeared from the public eye.

Fidel Castro stepped down from power in 2008 and turned over rule of the country to his brother, Raul. Since then, Castro has made few public appearances and is instead usually shown in still photographs looking stooped over and appears to have trouble walking.

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Castro’s primary communication with the public he ruthlessly ruled for decades is through occasional newspaper editorials in Cuban newspapers.

Fidel nearly died in 2006 after having to go through multiple abdominal surgeries and reportedly having part of his colon removed, according to Reuters. Instead of the powerful orator he once used to rule the nation with an iron fist, his voice is now a near whisper, according to Reuters.

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According to Reuters, Castro lives “in a modest home on the Western outskirts of Havan with his wife, Dalia Soto del Valle.”

Fidel Castro is arguably the most hated man in South Florida, especially in Miami-Dade County where millions of refugees and political opponents had to flee to during Castro’s decades in power.

The big question surrounding Fidel now is what will happen in Cuba once he dies. His brother, Raul, is also 82 years old, meaning there’s a good chance a Castro will not be in power in Cuba for the first time since the late 1950’s.

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What that means for the island of Cuba and its underdeveloped economy remains to be seen.