Source: Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis / Reuters
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer, ending 14 years of tumultuous rule that made the socialist leader a hero for the poor but a hate figure to his opponents.
The flamboyant 58-year-old had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last surgery was on December 11 and he had not been seen in public since.
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“We have just received the most tragic and awful information. At 4.25 p.m. (03.55 p.m. EST) today March the 5th, President Hugo Chavez Frias died,” Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised address, his voice choking.
Chavez easily won a new six-year term at an election in October and his death will devastate millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.
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