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HAVANA (Reuters) - Armando Hart, who headed the Cuban revolution’s literacy campaign and served for decades as education and then culture minister under Fidel Castro, died on Sunday from respiratory failure at age 87, Cuban state media reported.

Hart, a Marxist intellectual and lawyer, who fought in the urban underground and was imprisoned during the last year of the revolution against U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, was married to Haydee Santamaria until 1980, a heroine of the revolution and one of its most important female figures.

They had two children, both of whom died in an automobile accident in 2008.

Hart was also a member of the Communist Party Political Bureau and the Council of State for many years, the two most powerful executive bodies in Cuba.

In 1997, Hart became director of the national centre to preserve the memory and works of Jose Marti, the country’s most venerated figure, a position he held up to his death.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Reuters