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Irish president Michael D Higgins Photo by: RTE

Irish president pays tribute to Venezuelan leader Chávez

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Irish president Michael D Higgins Photo by: RTE

The Irish president has said his thoughts are with the people of Venezuela after the death of Hugo Chávez.

The 58-year-old Venezuelan president  died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer.

On December 8, he announced on State television that he intended to travel back to Cuba to undergo surgery since his pelvic cancer had "returned". His death ended his 14-year rule of the South American country. 

His death was announced by Vice President Nicolas Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, in a national television broadcast.

Irish president Michael D Higgins said: “I was very sorry to hear of the death, after a long illness, of president Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

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“President Chávez achieved a great deal during his term in office, particularly in the area of social development and poverty reduction.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the family of President Chávez on their great loss. My thoughts and best wishes are also with the people of Venezuela as they come to terms with this sad news.”

Deputy Prime Minister and  Minister Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore also expressed his sadness upon hearing news of the death of the political leader.

"He was an important figure on the international stage, as well as in his own country, and I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and to the people of Venezuela on his passing."

Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, said the socialist president had worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Venezuelan citizens, reports the BBC.

“He dedicated himself to building a new and radical society in Venezuela,” Adams said.

“His progressive social and economic changes took millions out of poverty. He extended free health care and education for all citizens and his re-election last year with a huge majority was testimony to his vision.”

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