Manuel Antonio Noriega, who took power in Panama in 1983 and was ousted by US forces in 1989, died late on Monday in Panama City.
President Juan Carlos Varela announced Noriega's death and said his passing marked the closing of a chapter in Panama's history.
Muerte de Manuel A. Noriega cierra un capítulo de nuestra historia; sus hijas y sus familiares merecen un sepelio en paz.
— Juan Carlos Varela (@JC_Varela) May 30, 2017
Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989. He spied for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) until the United States invaded and toppled his government, ending a criminal career that saw him working with drug traffickers like Pablo Escobar.
Noriega was initially sentenced in the United States in 1992 but was serving a sentence for murder in Panama when he died.
The military ruler of the Central American nation made world headlines as his relationship with Washington soured, culminating in the US sending nearly 28,000 troops to seize Panama City and capture him.
Noriega spent the rest of his life in custody between the United States, France and Panama for crimes ranging from murder to racketeering and drug-running.
The former military strongman had undergone an operation in March to remove a brain tumour but suffered a haemorrhage and had been in a coma since a second surgical intervention.
With the knowledge of US officials, Noriega formed "the hemisphere's first narcokleptocracy," a US Senate subcommittee report said. The report called Noriega "the best example in recent US foreign policy of how a foreign leader is able to manipulate the United States to the detriment of our own interests."
After his capture, Noriega said the US had worked hand in glove with him.