Fidel Castro gives details of his health problems

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in his most revealing comments yet on his health crisis four years ago, says he "came to be dead" and "the only thing I hoped for was for the world to stop."

"Several times I asked myself if [doctors] were going to let me live in those conditions or if they'd let me die," he told Mexico's La Jornada newspaper during a five-hour interview published Monday.

Castro's comments showed him morose and even despondent following emergency intestinal surgery and many complications in 2006, and now still so frail that he counts the steps he can take without assistance.

The man who ruled Cuba for nearly five decades did not identify his illness — Cuba has said that's a state secret — though media reports have identified it as diverticulitis, an inflammation in the intestines.

But Castro gave several other details about his health crisis during the interview, his first with a foreign newspaper since he turned over official power to his younger brother Raul.

"I came to be dead," he said, without clarifying whether he was in fact clinically dead at some point in what he called his "calvary," a reference to the mount where Jesus Christ was crucified.

"Stretched out on that [hospital] bed, I could only look around me, ignorant about those [medical] devices. I didn't know how long that torment would last and the only thing I hoped for was for the world to stop," he added.

"I survived, but in very poor physical conditions. At one point, I weighted 50-some kilograms," or about 110 pounds on his six-foot-three frame, Castro was quoted as saying.

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