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Cuban intellectual Carlos Alberto Montaner dies in Madrid

The 80-year-old writer was suffering from a rare disease, which forced him to say goodbye to his journalism career last month.

Cuban intellectual Carlos Alberto Montaner dies in Madrid

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Cuban writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner died at the age of 80 on Thursday in Madrid, Spain. The staunch defender of individual freedoms suffered from progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder.

Montaner's family announced his death in a statement and thanked the medical professionals and the Asociación Derecho a Morir Dignamente (Right to Die with Dignity Association) for the care received. They also dedicated words of thanks to friends and family and informed that a private and intimate funeral will be held.

"It's a rare brain disease," Montaner had explained his condition in an article published in several media outlets early last month. It was his public farewell to journalism, his retirement "without any joy".

This PSP [progressive supranuclear palsy] that now affects me is characterized (like the other one, that of the Cuban communists), by the "slow or slurred speech" which caused me to leave CNN en Español (where I shared so much with Andrés Oppenheimer, Camilo Egaña and other notable journalists), despite the efforts to retain me made by my friend Cynthia Hudson, president of the network.

The writer ended his final column as he had closed his memoirs, "Sin ir más lejos (Without going any further) ... I did what I could." Montaner thus becomes another supporter of democracy who, despite his tireless work, did not achieve his dream of seeing Cuba free.

In the world of journalism, there have been heartfelt messages in tribute to the intellectual, including that of the Voz Media Director Mario Noya. "One of our own has died," Noya assured on his radio program and went on to say:

He will continue to be one of us because we will continue to read him and we will continue to try to follow his example, the example of limitless curiosity, pedagogical generosity and not losing face in debates on the defense of freedom.

Noya also commented that Montaner has "left a void that is very difficult to fill." However, the Spanish journalist assured that his "disciples" will try to imitate his "defense of freedom throughout the Spanish-speaking world."