Hugo Chavez, fiery Venezuelan leader, dies at 58

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March 5, 2013, 5:04 pm
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(NECN/NBC News: Chris Clackum) - Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death of President Hugo Chavez Tuesday.

Chavez died after a long battle with cancer and hasn't been seen in public in months.

The son of school teachers, Chavez had a strict military upbringing.

By the early 1980s, Chavez had founded a revolutionary group that attempted a coup against the Venezuelan government - the attempt failed.

In late 1992, Chavez again attempted a coup and again it failed. This attempt landed him in jail for two years before he was pardoned.

On his release, the former paratrooper launched his own political party and was elected president.

In April 2002, Chavez was overthrown after attempting to take control of Venezuela's oil industry. Two days later, his supporters put him back in office.

In October 2002, opposition leaders led a nationwide general strike to force Chavez out of office, but he refused to leave.

Throughout his presidency, Chavez was hostile toward the United States. He became a close friend of Cuba and Fidel Castro, and went to Cuba multiple times to be treated for his cancer.

In 2009, Chavez made a successful attempt to allow himself to run for president indefinitely, but there were rumors that he'd tampered with the vote in order to win.

He won his bid for re-election in 2012 and another battle with cancer shortly followed.

Chavez suffered multiple complications from surgery in Cuba in December.

He disappeared from public eye, with photos of him and his daughters the last time the world saw him alive.

His return to Venezuela to be treated at Carcaras Military Hospital brought hope to Chavez's followers, but it was short-lived.

Chavez named his Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor if his cancer overcame him.

Tags: Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, Caracas, Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez death
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