Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez died of a massive heart attack after great suffering and inaudibly mouthed his desire to live, the head of the country’s presidential guard said.
“He couldn’t speak but he said it with his lips … ‘I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,’ because he loved his country, he sacrificed himself for his country,” General Jose Ornella said.
The general said he had spent the past two years with Chavez, including his final moments, as Venezuela’s president of 14 years battled an unspecified cancer in the pelvic region.
Ornella spoke to Associated Press outside the military academy where Chavez’s body lay in state. He said Chavez’s cancer was very advanced. He did not respond when asked if the cancer had spread to Chavez’s lungs.
The government announced on the eve of Chavez’s death that he had suffered a severe respiratory infection, the second since he underwent his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba on 11 December.