Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez Dies, Vice President Maduro Says

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes during a military parade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his failed coup attempt, in Caracas on Feb. 4, 2012.

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Photographer: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes during a military parade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his failed coup attempt, in Caracas on Feb. 4, 2012. Close

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez salutes during a military parade to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his failed... Read More

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Army Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chavez speaks to reporters after being released from prison in Caracas, on March 26, 1994. Close

Army Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chavez speaks to reporters after being released from prison in Caracas, on March 26, 1994.

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President-elect Hugo Chavez speaks with reporters outside the White House in Washington on Jan. 27, 1999. Close

President-elect Hugo Chavez speaks with reporters outside the White House in Washington on Jan. 27, 1999.

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Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gestures during the welcoming ceremony for his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on September 17, 2011. Close

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gestures during the welcoming ceremony for his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales at... Read More

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro, right, speak to reporters in Barcelona City, Venezuela, on June 28, 2005. Close

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses the UN General Assembly in New York in 2006. He called U.S. President George W. Bush the devil and said the stage still smelled like sulfur a day after Bush spoke. Close

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses the UN General Assembly in New York in 2006. He called U.S. President... Read More

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, and New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso, center, wave to the gallery before the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on June 10, 1999. Close

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez walks with his daughter Rosa Virginia as he departs for Cuba to receive medical treatment, in Caracas, on March 23, 2012. Close

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President Hugo Chavez waves a Venezuelan flag while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection in Caracas on October 7, 2012. Close

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died following a battle with cancer, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said today.

Chavez died at 4:25 p.m. Caracas time (3:55 p.m. New York time), Maduro said.

Chavez, who won re-election to a third six-year term in October after saying he was “totally free” of the disease, had not appeared in public since Dec. 10, when he flew to Cuba to undergo his fourth surgery since June 2011. Before leaving, the 58-year-old called on Venezuelans to vote for Maduro should he be unable to complete his term, which began on Jan. 10.

According to Venezuela’s constitution an election must be held within 30 days of the president’s death. It’s unclear whether Maduro or National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello will take over on an interim basis after the Supreme Court ruled in January that the ailing president could delay his swearing in for a new term.

Chavez returned to Caracas on Feb. 18 and went directly to a military hospital, the government said at the time.

To contact the reporters on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net; Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

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