Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian dictator, has passed away at the age of 83 in Panama City following a brain surgery this year.
Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that “the death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history.”
The former dictator had undergone an operation in March to remove a brain tumor but suffered a hemorrhage and had been in a coma since a second surgical intervention.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he died at around 11:00 p.m. local time after his condition suddenly worsened.
Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spied for the Central Intelligence Agency until the United States invaded and toppled his corrupt government, ending a criminal career that saw him working with drug traffickers like Pablo Escobar.
Noriega was initially sentenced in the United States in 1992 but was serving a sentence for murder in Panama when he died.
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 accused Washington of a “conspiracy” to keep him behind bars and tied his legal troubles to his refusal to cooperate with a US plan aimed at toppling Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government in the 1980s.