Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies

He died at age 58 after a battle with cancer, ABC News reports.

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Supporters of Hugo Chavez (Getty Images)

ABC News reports that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died at age 58 after a battle with cancer:

A self-described champion of the poor who first tried to overturn Venezuela's powerful elites in a failed 1992 coup, Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country's poor.

During his time in office, he became one of Latin America's most well-known and polarizing figures. A constant thorn in the side of the United States, he commanded headlines in newspapers around the world. A populist who suppressed free speech, he remained immensely popular among his country's poor.

 From the time 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.

Some considered Chavez to be the first president in the country's history to honor his indigenous and African ancestry. He once reportedly said, "Hate against me has a lot to do with racism. Because of my mouth, because of my curly hair. And I'm so proud to have this mouth and this hair, because it's African."

Read more at ABC News.

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