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Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez dies

NEED TO KNOW
  • Hugo Chavez had long battle with cancer
  • He once memorably referred to then-President George W. Bush as 'the devil'
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez

Chavez calls Bush 'the devil' in 2006 U.N. speech

Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Monday. He was 58.

Although the cause of death is not yet known, Chavez had long battled cancer. Chavez first announced he had the disease in 2011 and spent time in Cuba for treatment before returning to Venezuela two weeks ago. 

Chavez was elected the youngest president in the country's history in December 1998. After Chavez took office, one of his first order of business was rewriting Venezuela's constitution. He vowed to remake Venezuela, a major oil producer, into a socialist state.

"After many readings, debates, discussions, travels around the world, etcetera, I am convinced -- and I believe this conviction will be for the rest of my life -- that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism. The path is socialism," he said in 2005.

Many of Chavez's barbs were targeted toward the "imperialist" United States and its "colonial" allies in the region.

In a memorable 2006 speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Chavez berated then-U.S. president George W. Bush, saying "The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur today."

Head over to our friends at CNN.com for more details on Chavez's life and legacy. 

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