Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro said President Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life while he continues to undergo cancer treatment, according to the AP News.
Chavez hasn't spoken publicly since Dec. 2012, when he announced that his cancer came back and named Maduro as his successor in the event that he is no longer able to lead the country. The president has undergone several surgeries in Cuba since he first announced he had cancer in June 2011. Chavez returned to Venezuela on Feb. 18 and has been undergoing more treatments at a military hospital in Caracas.
CNN Chile reported last night that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died, but shortly took down the link. The news source later Tweeted, "CNN cannot confirm reports of Hugo Chavez's death."
Former Ambassador of Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS), Guillermo Cochez, told Panamanian newspaper La Estrella that Chavez was taken off life support four days ago.
"If they think that I am lying, let them prove otherwise, by showing Chavez alive and well," Cochez said.
Venezuelan vice president Nicolas Maduro dismissed the claims, saying Chavez has been running the country from his hospital ward in Caracas and that tracheal tubes aren't stopping him.
Claims that Chavez died came as thousands rallied in Caracas to commemorate Caracazo, the 1989 massacre that Chavez views as the beginning of his socialist revolution.
Maduro called for Venezuelans to keep praying for Chavez and to remain loyal to the president. He said Chavez's health had suffered because he had dedicated himself "body and soul" to his work as president.
The president has undergone surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments since June 2011, when he first announced he had cancer. There is no confirmation as to what type of cancer Chavez has or the exact location where a tumor in his pelvis had been removed.