Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, has lauded the achievements of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whose death was announced overnight.
The Soviet Union was Cuba's greatest ally for many years, acting as an economic and political prop for the country. Its collapse in 1991 had a devastating effect on the Cuban economy.
"Fidel held his ground and strengthened his country at the time of the harshest American blockade, at the time of massive pressure on him," said Gorbachev.
"Nevertheless he led out his country from the blockade to the path of self-sustained and independent development."
Thousands of people turned out to bid farewell to Fidel Castro as the former Cuban leader's ashes began their final journey.
Raul Castro and South American leaders were among those who attended a massive evening tribute to the late Cuban president.
Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, has paid his respects to Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba.