Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president for nearly 14 years, has died after battling with cancer.

The man who led a leftist revolution in the South American country had been suffering from the disease since 2011 and only recently returned from Cuba, where he had been undergoing treatment.

hugo chavez photo

One of the last photos taken of Hugo Chavez with his daughters, Maria Gabriela (left) and Rosa Virginia in Cuba

In an emotional statement, vice president Nicolas Maduro, flanked by leading politicians and military figures, announced the death of 58-year-old Chavez on national television.

"We have received the toughest and tragic information that... Commandante President Hugo Chavez died today at 4:25 pm," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Maduro had said that the president had a new, severe respiratory infection and had entered "his most difficult hours".

Chavez has been a divisive figure in Venezuela and beyond since winning the presidency in 1998. Last October, he won another six-year term in office but had been too ill to take the oath of office and when he announced he needed cancer surgery, he nominated Maduro as his successor if needed.

SEE ALSO: 'You Are An Imperialist Pawn... Go Straight To Hell,' Chavez Told Tony Blair In 2006: A Compendium Of Colourful Quotes From Venezuela's Famously Outspoken President

Only a few days ago, Maduro insisted that the president was not fighting for his life as he went through chemotherapy following the fourth cancer operation in December.

Speaking on Friday, Maduro said: "The treatments Commander Chavez is receiving are tough, but he is stronger than them."

William Hague said he was “saddened" to hear of Chavez's death.

“As president of Venezuela for 14 years he has left a lasting impression on the country and more widely. I would like to offer my condolences to his family and to the Venezuelan people at this time,” the foreign secretary added.

Venezuela and the USA had endured a difficult relationship since Chavez came to power, particularly whilst George W Bush was in the White House. On hearing the news of his death, president Barack Obama released a statement which emphasised the US's support for the Venezuelan people:

"At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights."

Some of Britain's left-leaning politicians took to Twitter to give their tribute to the president, including Respect MP George Galloway, who travelled to Venezuela during last October's elections to offer his support:


George Galloway
Farewell Comandante Hugo Chavez champion of the poor the oppressed everywhere. Modern day Spartacus. Rest in Peace.

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone described Chavez as "a friend & comrade", adding that he "showed there is an alternative to neo-liberalism and colonialism in Venezuela and worldwide".


Ken Livingstone
K: The best tribute for Hugo Chavez is to redouble our efforts for a world free of exploitation and colonialism

Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba in June 2011 to remove a tumour from his pelvic region but the cancer returned repeatedly in spite of three more operations, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

hugo chavez ken livingstone

Hugo Chavez met Ken Livingstone on a visit to London in 2006

Although hidden from the public for long periods, 'El Commandante', as he was known, kept in touch with the Venezuelan peopled through broadcast phone calls and Twitter, although the messages become more infrequent as his condition worsened. His last Twitter message was posted on 18 February 2013:


Hugo Chávez Frías
Sigo aferrado a Cristo y confiado en mis médicos y enfermeras. Hasta la victoria siempre!! Viviremos y venceremos!!!

Which translated to English reads: "I still cling to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory! We will live and overcome!"

The election to find a new president is expected to be held within the next month and will pit Maduro against Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader who lost the October election to Chavez.

One recent opinion poll gave Maduro a strong lead. He enjoys support among many of the working class and could benefit from an inevitable surge of emotion in the coming days, Reuters reported.

However, the agency added that the president's death could also trigger in-fighting in a leftist coalition that ranges from hard-left intellectuals to army officers and businessmen.

Loading Slideshow...
  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in front of the Military Hospital in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cry after knowing of his death in Caracas on March 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cries after knowing of his death in Caracas on March 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • MEXICO-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH

    A follower of late the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez shouts slogans in memory of the Venezuelan leader at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City on March 5, 2013. Chavez lost his battle with cancer on March 5, 2013, his death silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HONDURAS-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signs a condolences book in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in fron of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HONDURAS-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signs a condolences book in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HONDURAS-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signs a condolences book in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO/Orlando SIERRA. (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • MEXICO-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH

    Followers of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez place flowers in memory of the leader at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City on March 5, 2013. Chavez lost his battle with cancer on March 5, 2013, his death silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • MEXICO-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH

    Followers of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez create an altar in memory of the leader at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City on March 5, 2013. Chavez lost his battle with cancer on March 5, 2013, his death silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ECUADOR-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-REACTIONS

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez shows a picture of him and Chavez outside the Venezuelan embassy in Quito on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ECUADOR-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-REACTIONS

    A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds a posterof him outside the Venezuelan embassy in Quito on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CHILE-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ligth candles while gathering in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Santiago, Chile on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/Claudio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ECUADOR-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-REACTIONS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hold posters outside the Venezuelan embassy in Quito on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • MEXICO-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH

    Followers of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sign the book of condolences at the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico City on March 5, 2013. Chavez lost his battle with cancer on March 5, 2013, his death silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CHILE-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ligth candles while gathering in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Santiago, Chile on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/Claudio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CHILE-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ligth candles while gathering in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Santiago, Chile on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/Claudio SANTANA (Photo credit should read CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Venezuelans In Miami Area React To Death Of Hugo Chavez

    DORAL, FL - MARCH 05: Marisa Perez holds a Venezuelan flag as she reacts to what is being said on a television set reporting on the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, at El Arepazo 2 a restaurant in the heart of a neighborhood that has the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S. on March 5, 2013 in Doral, Florida. The Venezuelan government announced today that Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in front of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in front of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/Leo Ramirez (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Venezuelans In Miami Area React To Death Of Hugo Chavez

    DORAL, FL - MARCH 05: Carmen Mata waves a Venezuelan flag as she and others react to the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, at El Arepazo 2 a restaurant in the heart of a neighborhood that has the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S. on March 5, 2013 in Doral, Florida. The Venezuelan government announced today that Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • Venezuelans In Miami Area React To Death Of Hugo Chavez

    DORAL, FL - MARCH 05: Marisa Perez holds a Venezuelan flag as she and others listen to what is being said on a television set reporting on the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, at El Arepazo 2 a restaurant in the heart of a neighborhood that has the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S. on March 5, 2013 in Doral, Florida. The Venezuelan government announced today that Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in front of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-SUPPORTERS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gather in front of Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on March 5, 2013, after knowing of their leader's death. Chavez lost his battle with cancer, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future. AFP PHOTO/LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-HEALTH

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cry during prayers at the chapel inside the Military Hospital in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds photos of Chavez in Bolivar square in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A severe new respiratory infection has hit cancer-stricken Chavez and his condition is "very delicate," Venezuela's government says. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wipes away tears as she prays for the ailing president at the military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • Pedestrians walks past graffiti that reads in Spanish; "Chavez lives and will prevail," outside the military hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said President Hugo Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A woman prays for Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at the military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wipes away tears as she prays for the ailing president at the military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A postcard of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez with his daughters; Maria Gabriela, left, and Rosa Virginia, is pinned together with prayer cards to the altar cloth in the military hospital's chapel, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez pray for the ailing president at the military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • Student protestors begin to wake, after sleeping on a street they have shut down, demanding information about President Hugo Chavez's health, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • A student protestor demanding more information about President Hugo Chavez's health reads a newspaper in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • A woman holding a T-shirt with an image of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez prays at military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory.(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez prays for the ailing president at the military hospital's chapel in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A poster of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is seen through a cross-shaped window, from inside the military hospital's chapel, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

  • A poster showing a photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez with images of Jesus Christ carrying a cross is held by a Chavez supporter in Bolivar square in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A severe new respiratory infection has hit cancer-stricken Chavez and his condition is "very delicate," Venezuela's government says. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-HEALTH

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cries as he prays at the chapel inside the Military Hospital in Caracas on March 05, 2013.The condition of cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has worsened as the leftist leader suffers from a new and severe infection and his breathing has become more difficult, the government said. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A student protestor demanding more information about President Hugo Chavez's health reads a newspaper with a front page headline that reads in Spanish; "The President worsens," in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A brief statement read on national television by Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas late Monday carried the sobering news about the charismatic 58-year-old leader's deteriorating health. Villegas said Chavez is suffering from "a new, severe infection." The state news agency identified it as respiratory. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

  • VENEZUELA-US-MADURO-DEL MONACO-EXPULSION

    Two men ride past a mural portraying the Venezuelan flag, President Hugo Chavez and South American liberator Simon Bolivar at the 23 de Enero neighbourhood, in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro expelled US Air Force Embassy attache David Del Monaco, giving him 24 hours to leave the country, accusing him of conspiracy. AFP PHOTO/Geraldo Caso (Photo credit should read GERALDO CASO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-STUDENTS-DEMO

    Students hold a protest blocking an avenue demanding the truth regarding the conditions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-STUDENTS-DEMO

    Students hold a protest blocking an avenue demanding the truth regarding the conditions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. The sign reads, 'Venezuela demands the truth.' AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-STUDENTS-DEMO

    Students hold a protest blocking an avenue demanding the truth regarding the conditions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nicolas Maduro

    In this photo released by Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro, top center in white, addresses the nation from Miraflores presidential palace during a meeting with top government ministers, the military high command and all 20 loyalist governors in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Maduro says the government of President Hugo Chavez plans to expel a U.S. Embassy official for meeting with military officers and planning to destabilize the country. Maduro spoke hours after the government said Chavez was in "very delicate" health after undergoing cancer surgery in December. The large images on display in the room are of Venezuela's independence hero Simon Bolivar. (AP Photo/Miraflores Presidential Press Office)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-HEALTH

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are seen outside of the Military Hospital in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-HEALTH

    A man reads a newspaper headline concerning the health conditions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-STUDENTS-DEMO

    Students hold a protest blocking an avenue demanding the truth regarding the conditions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ECUADOR-VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-DEATH-REACTIONS

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hold candles outside the Venezuelan embassy in Quito on March 5, 2013, after knowing of his death. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ-HEALTH

    Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are seen outside of the Military Hospital in Caracas on March 5, 2013. Venezuela plunged deeper into an uncertain future on Tuesday as cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez took a turn for the worse, hit by a severe infection and breathing problems. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Venezuelans In Miami Area React To Death Of Hugo Chavez

    DORAL, FL - MARCH 05: Marisa Perez is wrapped in a Venezuelan flag as she and others listen to what is being said on a television set reporting on the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, at El Arepazo 2 a restaurant in the heart of a neighborhood that has the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S. on March 5, 2013 in Doral, Florida. The Venezuelan government announced today that Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Loading Slideshow...
  • Adam Chavez, Hugo Chavez

    In this undated photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez, right, sits with his brother Adam in Barinas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this undated photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez is seen in a family photo in Barinas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that President Hugo Chavez has died at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer. During more than 14 years in office, Chavez routinely challenged the status quo at home and internationally. He polarized Venezuelans with his confrontational and domineering style, yet was also a masterful communicator and strategist who tapped into Venezuelan nationalism to win broad support, particularly among the poor. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this March 1971 photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez poses for a photo prior to his admission to the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez, Elena Frias, Hugo de los Reyes Chavez

    In this July 5, 1975 photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez, center, poses with his mother Elena Frias and father Hugo de los Reyes Chavez at his graduation from the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this undated photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez, right, sings folkloric Venezuelan music during an event at the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez, top left, poses with fellow members of the failed coup as they serve time in Yare II jail near Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this undated photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Lieutenant Hugo Chavez poses for a photo at the Military Academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this March 1972 photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez, bottom row, right, poses with his baseball teammates during the internal games at the Military Academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this April 1971 photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, receives a dagger during his ceremony to enter the military academy in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    In this undated photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Hugo Chavez poses as he serves time in the Yare II prison near Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Feb. 4, 1992 file photo, paratroop commander Hugo Chavez talks to reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to the troops loyal to the government of Carlos Andres Perez in Caracas, Venezuela. Chavaz surrendered in the western city of Valencia and was transported to Caracas, where he called his followers to give up their arms. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Ali Gomez, File)

  • Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

    FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2006 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wave to the press after inaugurating an oil drill in San Tome, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

  • Muammar Gaddafi, Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2009 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, shows Libya's President Moammar Gadhafi a replica of Venezuelan Independence hero Simon Bolivar's sword after giving it as a gift to Gadhafi in Porlamar, Margarita Island, Venezuela. Now that Gadhafi has been ousted and is in hiding, Chavez is one of the few heads of state still openly supporting him. Chavez said Friday, Sept. 9, 2011 he thinks Gadhafi will not flee Libya. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, file)

  • US President George W. Bush (behind) wal

    US President George W. Bush (behind) walks past Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after Bush spoke at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Special Summit of The Americas at the Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, Mexico 12 January 2004. More than 30 leaders from American nations gathered Monday in the Mexican city of Monterrey for a two-day summit expected to be marked by divergences between US President George W. Bush and counterparts from Latin America. AFP PHOTO/Luke FRAZZA (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2000 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, front right, walks with Iraqi's President Saddam Hussein at Saddam airport in Baghdad, Iraq. Chavez, the first national leader to visit Iraq since the Gulf War in 1991, was leaving the country after a short visit as part of a tour of OPEC countries. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/INA, Pool, File)

  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, directs Zimbabwean

    VENEZUELA - FEBRUARY 26: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, directs Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential residence in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday, February 26, 2004. Mugabe is one of the leaders of developing nations from Africa, Asia and Latin America who are gathering in Caracas for a summit this week. (Photo by David Rochkind/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

  • Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (C) em

    Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (C) embraces Zimbawe's President Robert Mugabe (R), behind UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, during the official photograph of the Group of 77 South Summit, in Havana, 12 April 2000. Twenty-seven heads of State and 15 Prime Ministers from the Group are attending the summit. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hugo Chavez dies

    File photo dated 23/10/2001 Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez being greeted by Prime Minister Tony Blair at No.10 Downing Street in London. Chavez has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

  • Hugo Chavez dies

    File photo dated 24/10/2001 of Queen Elizabeth II with the President of Venezuela His Excellency Hugo Chavez at Buckingham Palace in London. Chavez has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

  • FILE - In this April 18, 2009 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, hands President Barack Obama the book titled "The Open Veins of Latin America" by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano at a UNASUR countries meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

  • Hugo Chavez dies

    File photo dated 15/5/2006 of Mayor of London Ken Livingstone meeting President Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, at City Hall, London. Chavez has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

  • FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2006 file photo, Italy's President Silvio Berlusconi, left, shakes hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at a meeting in Milan, Italy. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

  • Hugo Chavez, Rosa Virginia Chavez , Maria Gabriela Chavez

    FILE - In this file photo released on Feb. 15, 2013 by Miraflores Presidential Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, center, poses for a photo with his daughters, Maria Gabriela, left, and Rosa Virginia at an unknown location in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Miraflores Presidential Press Office, File)

  • Hugo Chavez dies

    File photo dated 15/5/2006 of President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez who has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

  • Hugo Chavez dies

    File photo dated 14/5/2006 of President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez addressing crowds of supporters at the Camden Centre, London. Chavez has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this June 2, 2001 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds up a small copy of his nation's constitution as he visits a Citgo Petroleum Corp refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times, George Tuley, File)

  • Hugo Chavez, Luiz Inacio Lula

    FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2006 file photo, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez greet people during the inauguration ceremony of an oil drill in Campo Morichal, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2001 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures before a painting of Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar at an event at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this May 14, 2004 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gives a press conference at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this June 2, 2011 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, holds a crutch as he welcomes Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, not in picture, at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

  • FILE - In this April 14, 2002 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures to supporters as he arrives to Miraflores presidential palace after being freed by his military captors two days after the military announced he had resigned, in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2005 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wears a Mexican sombrero as he sings a Mexican ranchera song at a rally in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo, backdropped by a portrait of independence hero Simon Bolivar, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks during a press conference at the Miraflores palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Feb. 4, 1999 file photo, Venezuela's newly sworn in President Hugo Chavez salutes the crowd next to his wife Marisabel Chavez during a military parade commemorating the seventh anniversary of his failed 1992 coup in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Douglas Engle, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this July 24, 2000 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds Simon Bolivar's sword at an event celebrating the independence hero's 114th birthday in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Feb. 5, 1992 file photo, paratroop commander Hugo Chavez, center, is escorted by military intelligence officers after being arrested for trying to overthrow Venezuela's government in a coup. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 4, 1997 file photo, Hugo Chavez, a retired army lieutenant colonel who led a coup attempt in 1992, waves to people gathered in Caracas Square to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the failed coup in Caracas, Venezuela. The coup attempt sent shock waves through Latin America, since oil-rich Venezuela is one of the region's oldest democracies and for years was considered a model for Third World economic development. The girl is unidentified. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 that Chavez has died. Chavez, 58, was first diagnosed with cancer in June 2011. (AP Photo/Jose Caruci, File)

  • Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro

    FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2012 file photo released by Cuba's state newspaper Granma, Cuba's President Raul Castro, right, receives Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at the Jose Marti International airport in Havana, Cuba. Chavez arrived in Cuba on Dec. 10, 2012 for a fourth cancer-related operation after designating Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his political heir. The long and at times surreal saga surrounding the cancer treatment of President Hugo Chavez has many Venezuelan writers and intellectuals likening the nation's drama to a telenovela. Venezuela has long produced soap operas, and some say no one could have imagined a more bizarre plot than the one unfolding in the more than seven weeks since Chavez traveled to Cuba for his operation and disappeared from public view. (AP Photo/Granma, File)

  • FILE - In this July 3, 2012 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, greets Major General Wilmer Barrientos after he was promoted at a military ceremony in Fuerte Tiuna military base in Caracas, Venezuela. A former paratrooper, Chavez enjoys explicit support from two of the country's top military leaders, Defense Minister Adm. Diego Molero and chief strategic operational officer, top army Gen. Wilmer Barrientos. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

  • Hugo Chavez, Diego Molero, Nicolas Maduro

    FILE - In this Dec 10, 2012 file photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, swears in Defense Minister Diego Molero, left, as Vice President Nicolas Maduro looks on at Miraflores Presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. A former paratrooper, Chavez enjoys explicit support from two of the country’s top military leaders, Defense Minister Adm. Diego Molero and chief strategic operational officer, top army Gen. Wilmer Barrientos. (AP Photo/Miraflores Press Office, Marcelo Garcia, File)

  • FILE - In this June 24, 2012 file photo, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, left, President Hugo Chavez, center, and Defense Minister Gen. Henry Rangel attend a military parade at the military academy in Fuerte Tiuna, Caracas, Venezuela. With Chavez now knocked low by a stubborn cancer and the future of his government in question, the armed forces may not be so prepared to hold the country together this time. A former military officer and several experts said the president's five-week absence has created a gaping hole at the top of the chain of command, one that the governing duo of Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello has proven incapable of filling. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

  • Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2011 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks to soldiers in La Fria, Venezuela. With Chavez now knocked low by a stubborn cancer and the future of his government in question, the armed forces may not be so prepared to hold the country together this time. A former military officer and several experts said the president’s five-week absence has created a gaping hole at the top of the chain of command, one that the governing duo of Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello has proven incapable of filling. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

  • Cristina Fernandez, Hugo Chavez

    FILE - In this March 29, 2011 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez gesture before signing commercial accords during a visit to a state-run shipyard in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fernandez is in Cuba on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, to visit Chavez who is recovering from cancer surgery. The Venezuelan leader, normally at the center of national attention, is so ill following a fourth cancer surgery in Cuba that he has made no broadcast statement in more than a month, and has not appeared in a single photo. Officials have not specified what sort of cancer he suffers. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

  • FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - In this July 24, 2012 file photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds up a pair of pistols that he says belonged to Venezuela's independence hero Simon Bolivar during a ceremony marking 229th anniversary of Bolivar's birth at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Bolivar is the namesake of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution movement, and his government is putting the finishing touches on a new mausoleum to house Bolivar's remains. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) approaches to embrace Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota during an official visit to Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks next to Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota during an official visit at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota's official visit at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-ELECTIONS-CHAVEZ-PROCLAMATION

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez shows the National Electoral Center document certifying his victory on past October 7 elections during the proclamation act in Caracas on October 10, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/GettyImages)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks next to Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota during an official visit to Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (C) speaks during Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota's official visit at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VENEZUELA-BRAZIL-CHAVEZ-PATRIOTA

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks during Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguilar Patriota's official visit at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)