Hugo Chavez has died from cancer aged 58, after 14 years as President of Venezuela.
He had been seriously ill with the disease for over a year and had undergone several operations in Cuba.
Chavez was a self-proclaimed revolutionary, and was a controversial figure both within his own country and on the world stage.
He inspired a left-wing revival across much of Latin America with his staunch opposition to the US.
Chavez’ Vice-President, Nicolas Maduro, will assume leadership of the country until a permanent successor is chosen.
An election to find the next President will be held within thirty days.
Crowds of supporters for Chavez and his governing PSUV party gathered outside the hospital where he died in the capital, Caracas, chanting: “We are all Chavez!”
But it was clear Chavez had been seriously ill for some time, after his illness prevented him from taking the oath of office when he was re-elected as President in October last year.
He had not been seen in public for several months before that.
The government announced seven days of national mourning and Chavez’ body will lie in state until a funeral on Friday.