Mr. Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba, and had not been seen in public for several months. Nicolas Maduro made the announcement on Tuesday evening, flanked by 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". In Tuesday evening's emotional address, a tearful Mr. Maduro said Mr Chavez had died at 16:25 (17:55 GMT) "after battling a tough illness for nearly two years".


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