Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s socialist president has died at the age of 58 fighting cancer.  Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country’s poor. He was one of Latin America’s most well-known and polarizing figures. Since he won election in 1999, Chavez held onto power through tightly controlling the media and through a series of populist elections and referenda, including one that allowed him to seek a limitless number of terms.

“We have just received the most tragic and awful information. At 4.25pm, President Hugo Chávez Frias died,” Nicolás Maduro announced in video statement.

Venezuelans began seven days of painful and public mourning on Tuesday night after the announcement that their president, Hugo Chávez is no more.

The official funeral attended by foreign heads of state would take place at 10:00 local time (14:30 GMT) on Friday, and call for Mr Chavez’s supporters to wear clothes in the three colours of the Venezuelan flag in his honour is made.

Thousands of Chavez supporters took to the streets of Caracas, chanting: “We are all Chavez!” and “Chavez lives!”

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