FOX News confirms Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died at the age of 58.
FOX News Radio's Eben Brown reports:
Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, the power-usurping President of Venezuela and self-labeled enemy of the United States, was born in 1954 in rural Venezuela. He hoped to be a professional baseball player, but opted for a military career, working his way up to Colonel when he became politically active, embracing socialism. He led a failed coup in 1992, but the nation's poor helped him win a Presidential election in '98.
His Constitutional rewrites consolidated his control of Venezuela's government, oil, the press and the military. He imprisoned opponents, leading to loud and violent opposition (protest sounds) And an overthrow attempt.
He would soon declare hatred for the U.S., even referring to then-President George W. Bush as the Devil when giving a speech following Bush's talk at the U.N.
(Chavez /through interpreter) "And it smells of sulfur, still today! This table that I am now standing in front of!"
He even taunted Bush by providing lower-income Americans with free heating oil from his country's vast supply. He ended the program in 2009.
But his final years were spent fighting cancer, seeking medical care in Cuba and claiming to be a victim of U.S. assassination attempts. With his death, there will undoubtedly be a quest for power between Chavez's supporters and dissenters. (protest sounds) A quest that may not be peaceful.
Eben Brown, FOX News Radio.
READ a statement from President Obama on the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:
"At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez's passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights."
WATCH for more on who will succeed Hugo Chavez in Venezuela: