Interior Minister Abelardo Colome Ibarra, a historic figure in Cuba's revolution who accompanied the Castro brothers when they toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, has resigned for health reasons, the government said Monday.

A communique read on state television said that President Raul Castro had accepted the resignation of the veteran revolutionary, soldier and intelligence official known by his nickname "Furry."

"Of my 76 years of life, I have devoted 60 to the revolution and while I'm alive I will remain a soldier in its service and a militant of the communist party that educated me," Colome said in a statement dated Oct. 21 but only released Monday night. "But lately I've sensed that my health is not the same and I feel obliged to present my formal resignation from the high political, state, governmental and military posts."

Colome accompanied Fidel and Raul Castro in the Cuban mountains where the brothers waged the armed struggle that ended the Batista dictatorship. Colome later joined the Interior Ministry in the areas of state security and policing, and was chosen to help Ernesto "Che" Guevara develop his guerrilla strategy for spreading the revolution to South America.

Since 1989, he was Cuba's interior minister, becoming one of the most-trusted figures in the Castro government.

A government statement said he would be replaced by Carlos Fernandez, formerly the first deputy interior minister.