Rumor: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died

A lack of information from the government led to much speculation about Chavez's condition.

CONFIRMED: That Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is dead

UPDATE: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer, officially ending his 14-year rule. (Click here to read the full story.)

Chavez was slated to be sworn in for another term last Thursday, but the report was that he was too sick to attend the ceremony. With the leader having not spoken publicly in a month, a rumor floated around last week, as reported by RYOT News and Channel 4 News Blog, that Chavez was not sick at all, but dead.

Official word: ‘respiratory deficiency'

Venezuela’s most recent statement on Chavez’s health had been that he was suffering from an acute “respiratory deficiency” related to a severe lung infection. The president was said to have "encountered complications" after his fourth surgery in Havana, Cuba, in December to treat cancer first diagnosed in June 2011. Regardless, tens of thousands showed up for a symbolic inauguration last Thursday, showing that even from his rumored death bed, the president still commanded enormous attention.

Find out what Mexico’s “Grand Warlock” is predicting about Chavez’s demise

Tensions with opposition mount

With little information coming from Chavez’s administration on the leader’s health, tensions with the opposition party had steadily increased, focusing, most recently, on whether the government could legally postpone Chavez’s inauguration in the event that he recovered. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles and others have called for the Supreme Court to rule on who's actually president.

Video: PBS America profiles Hugo Chavez

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