Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer Tuesday at the age of 58. He died in a military hospital in Caracas, Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on national radio and television.
With tears in his eyes, Maduro addressed Venezuelans from the Doctor Carlos Arvelo military hospital, where Chavez passed his last two weeks after returning from Cuba on February 18, a report said.
"At 4.25 pm (Tuesday), the commander President Hugo Chavez deceased," Maduro said.
He called the event a "historical tragedy" and urged Venezuelans to be vigilant for the peace of the country.
Accompanied by key members of the Executive Cabinet, Maduro offered thanks to friends from other countries.
"In this time of sorrow, we thank you for your eternal solidarity," he said.
He also called on the Venezuelan people of all political sections to unite together.
"Let there be no violence or hatred, but love, peace, unity and discipline," Maduro said.