Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after long illness

Leader suffered from respiratory infection

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died, the country's vice president said Tuesday evening.

Chavez's supporters had been visiting churches to pray for his health after the government described his condition as "very delicate."

He underwent a fourth cancer surgery in December, and was said to have a "severe" respiratory infection.

Chavez has ruled Venezuela for more than 14 years, gradually placing all state institutions under his personal control.

Upon his death, the opposition would challenge a government candidate in a snap election that critics said should have been called in January, after Chavez was unable to be sworn in for a new term.

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