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UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday extended his condolences over the death of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
In a statement released here by his spokesperson, Ban said he was saddened by the death of Chavez and offered his condolences to the family of the president, the government and the people of Venezuela.
"President Chavez spoke to the challenges and aspirations of the most vulnerable Venezuelans," said the statement.
The late president "provided decisive impetus for new regional integration movements, based on an eminently Latin American vision, while showing solidarity toward other nations in the hemisphere," the statement added.
In the statement, Ban also praised Chavez's contribution to the current peace talks in Colombia between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which "has been of vital importance."
In addition, the UN chief renewed the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the government and the people of Venezuela in support of its development and prosperity.
Chavez lost his battle with cancer Tuesday at the age of 58, Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised address, flanked by top aides.
Chavez has been in power for 14 years. He was re-elected to a third six-year term last October, but could not be sworn in as scheduled on January 10 due to his serious health problems.
After seeking medical treatment for 70 days in Cuba, he returned home on February 18. Since then, he had stayed in the Caracas military hospital.
Chavez was born on July 28, 1954, in Venezuela's Barinas state, and graduated from the country's military academy in 1975 with a master's degree in military sciences. He also studied politics at Simon Bolivar University from 1989 to 1990.