Alberto Granado, the man whose motorcycle adventures with Che Guevara would ultimately alter the course of Latin America, has died today in Cuba at the age of 88. The epic journey undertaken in 1952 by the two Argentine med students formed the political convictions that turned Guevara into an icon, and ultimately brought Fidel Castro to power. Both Granado and Guevara kept diaries on the journey, which served as the basis of the film, The Motorcycle Diaries.
Guevara invited his old friend to Cuba in 1960, reports the AP, after Guevara had helped engineer the revolution that deposed dictator Fulgencio Batista. Granado moved to Havana the next year, where he quietly taught biochemistry at university and raised his family. Granado was "barely five feet tall and had a huge beaked nose, but he sported a barrel chest and a footballer's sturdy bowed legs," wrote Guevara biographer Jon Lee Anderson. "He also possessed a good sense of humor and a taste for wine, girls, literature and rugby." Granado will be cremated, and his ashes spread in Cuba, Argentina, and Venezuela.