'Che' motorcycle companion dead at 88
Alberto Granado, the travel companion of leftist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara on their famed 1950s motorcycle trip through South America, died Saturday in Cuba, official media reported.
"In today's morning hours in the capital, comrade Alberto Granado, the close friend of commandante Ernest Guevara, died at age 88," an announcer read on state television.
The Argentine biochemist had lived on the communist-ruled island since 1961, and "as a faithful friend of Cuba, he contributed to the training of professionals in medicine and genetics."
Granado was a doctor and Guevara a medical student when they set out on their eight-month odyssey. They left Buenos Aires in December 1951 and traveled through much of South America, where they witnessed poverty of local communities, lack of access to medical care, and disenfranchisement of native people.
The trip was immortalized in Brazilian director Walter Salles's 1994 film "The Motorcycle Diaries," which drew from books about the voyage by both participants, and won an Oscar for best original song.
Asked in an interview a few years ago about his friendship and time on the road with "Che," Granado said: "We hit it off well."
"When there was talk about politics, disease and what not, we almost always shared a similar view," he added.
State media said Granado's body was taken to a funeral home in Havana and, "according to his wishes," his remains will be cremated and the ashes spread across parts of Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela.
Guevara, who became a Cuban and internationalist guerrilla leader, was tracked down and killed in the Bolivian jungle on October 9, 1967.
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