Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has died
Vice President Nicolas Maduro says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died at age 58. In a national broadcast, Maduro said Chavez died Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. Maduro teared up as he announced the news.
"We have received the hardest and most tragic news that... comandante President Hugo Chavez died today at 4:25 pm," Maduro said on state television.
Mr Maduro said Mr Chavez had died "after battling a tough illness for nearly two years".
An emotional Nicolas Maduro made the announcement on Tuesday evening, flanked by leading Venezuelan political and military leaders.
Earlier, he said the 58-year-old Venezuelan leader had a new, severe respiratory infection and had entered "his most difficult hours".
He said he had no doubt that Mr Chavez's cancer, first diagnosed in 2011, had been induced by foul play by Venezuela's enemies.
"We must unite now more than ever," he said, calling on Venezuelans to remain peaceful and respectful.
"Our people can count on having a government of men and women committed to protecting them," Maduro said.
In the coming hours, Maduro said, plans for Chavez's funeral would be announced.
The announcement came hours after Maduro met with the country's top political and military leaders about Chavez's worsening health condition and suggested someone may have deliberately infected Chavez with cancer.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro is expected to assume the presidency of the oil-rich South American nation.
Venezuelan radio reported that military had been deployed across the country.
- Asian Tribune -