Breaking News – Hugo Chavez at age 58 has died. Chavez, Venezuela’s fiery and controversial socialist president who came to power on wave of popular sentiment and befriended some of the world’s most nefarious dictators, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said today.
Maduro said Chavez died at 4:25 p.m.
Chavez had been fighting cancer, and was in Cuba.
Hugo Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country’s poor.
During his time in office, he became one of Latin America’s most well-known and polarizing figures. A constant thorn in the side of the United States, he commanded headlines in newspapers around the world. A populist who suppressed free speech, he remained immensely popular among his country’s poor.
Last May, he said he had recovered from an unspecified cancer, after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy in 2011 and a further operation in February 2012.
However, in December 2012, he announced he needed further cancer surgery in Cuba, and named his Vice-President, Nicolas Maduro, as his preferred successor should the need arise.
Mr Chavez remained out of public view, finally returning to Venezuela in February.