Noriega had been a key U.S. ally but was forcibly removed when American troops invaded in 1989 and was later jailed in the USA on drugs and laundering charges.
With the knowledge of U.S. officials, Noriega (right) formed "the hemisphere's first narcokleptocracy", a U.S. Senate subcommittee report said.
He ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spying for the Central Intelligence Agency before the United States invaded in 1989, toppling his brutal regime and ending a drug trafficking career that associated him with Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Manuel Antonio Noriega, who took power in Panama in 1983 and was ousted by U.S. forces in 1989, has died in Panama City.
Noriega later claimed the USA had worked with him in his criminal enterprises. He died at 11 p.m. local time.
In later years he struggled with a variety of health problems in prison and underwent surgery for a brain tumor two months ago that left him with serious complications.
After his capture, Noriega tried to turn the tables on the United States, saying it had worked hand in glove with him.