- Feb 7, 2011
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has passed away at the age of 58 following a two-years-long fight against cancer and a severe respiratory infection. His untimely demise raises serious questions about the future of the oil-rich regional power.
The president of Venezuela died on Tuesday afternoon, Vice President Nicolas Maduro has announced. "It's a moment of deep pain," he said, accompanied by senior ministers.
The country's military chiefs have appeared live on state television to pledge their loyalty to Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez had named as his preferred successor.
According to the country's constitution, head of Venezuelan Parliament Diosdado Cabello assumes the interim presidency until the elections.
Source: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez diesOne of the world's best-known socialist leaders and a staunch critic of the United States, Chavez had been battling the disease for nearly two years, undergoing four surgeries and several sessions of chemotherapy in Havana.
Despite his ailing health, Chavez was reelected in November to a fourth term. However, he was not able to attend his January 10 inauguration ceremony, which cast doubt on the succession of power in the country. Prior to his death, the Venezuelan opposition called for a new election should Chavez be unfit to take over the office.