Fidel Castro Reportedly Suffers Stroke ... Close to Death

10/19/2012 7:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
Fidel Castro has reportedly suffered an embolic stroke ... and his health is so bad, the 86-year-old former leader of Cuba can barely eat, speak or recognize people.

The news is being reported by El Nuevo Herald, which says it spoke with Jose Marquina -- "a respected doctor" who assured the paper he has firsthand sources and information about Castro.

The doctor told the Herald, "[Castro] could last weeks like that, but what I can say is that we’ll never again see him in public.”  

The last time Castro was seen out in public was back in March -- when Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba.