Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary and statesman, dies at the age of 83. In 1934, during his long civil war with the Nationalists, he broke through enemy lines and led his followers on the Long March to northern China. There, he built up his Red Army and fought against the Japanese invaders. In 1945, civil war resumed, and in 1949 the Nationalists were defeated and Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China. As leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao launched the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, programs that reformed the Chinese economy and society at the cost of millions of lives. Nevertheless, he maintained fanatical followers all across China and remains one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping emerged as China's leader.