Born as Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias to local schoolteachers in the poor village of Sabaneta, Barinas on July 28, 1954, Chavez went on to lead an impressive military career. Inspired mostly by Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar, Chavez led an unsuccessful coup to oust Venezuelan then-president Carlos Perez. Although arrested for his attempts, Chavez's vigor and revolutionary zeal ultimately landed him in Venezuelan Presidential seat in 1998.
The leader of the Bolivarian Revolution 2000, officer Hugo Chavez, talks to reporters at the Defense Ministry after he surrendered to the troops loyal to the government of Carlos Andres Perez, in Caracas, Venezuela, this Feb. 4, 1992, photo. Chavez assumed Venezuela's presidency in 1999, vowing to eradicate corruption and the poverty that afflicts 80 percent of Venezuela's 24 million people. He was ousted Friday, April 12, 2002, at age 47. (AP Photo/Ali Gomez)
Born July 28, 1954, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, who rose through the military ranks and led a failed coup before winning the presidency in 1998, died after a long battle with cancer on March 5, 2013. He was 58. Click to see his life and times.
To start his long and noteworthy military career, Hugo Chavez received his education at the Venezuelan Academy for Military Sciences. Chavez is known for his strong belief in the Bolivarian movement, a leftist social movement dedicated to popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of wealth, and ending Venezuela's political corruption.
Frustrated by the corruption involved in Venezuelan politics in the time of President Carlos Perez's rule, Chavez attempted to oust Perez in a Military coup. He ultimately failed and was arrested and imprisoned. Two years later, President Rafael Caldera pardoned Chavez. Here, he speaks to reporters after being freed from jail in 1994.
Chavez faced jail time after leading a military coup known as Operation Zamora. Four year after leaving prison, he won his first presidential election, largely because of the support garnered from his 1998 "Bolivarian Revolution."
Venezuelan President-elect Hugo Chavez was s sworn in by Venezuelan Congress President Luis Alfonso Davila during his inauguration ceremony in Caracas. Once taken office, Chavez quickly sought to shape his presidency along the ideals of a Bolivar inspired brand of socialism.
In 1998, Chavez spoke to a crowd gathered at the Plaza Caracas as they celebrated the anniversary of the 1992 coup. A ban on visiting the United States and the scorn of his country's wealthy elite didn't keep the former coup leader from becoming a hero to millions of Venezuelans.
A father to five, here, Hugo Chavez embraces daughter Maria Gabriela at his office in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 1999, President Hugo Chavez walked through hundreds of squatters and supporters in the Venezuelan state of Monagas. Attempting to halt a wave of land invasions sweeping through Venezuela, Chavez visited the most affected areas, persuading squatters to leave peacefully.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , who once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player in the major leagues, threw out the ceremonial first pitch as the New York Mets hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in 1999.
Chavez and his former wife Marisabel Chavez celebrate their victory outside the presidential palace on July 25, 1999. Chavez's leftist coalition won an overwhelming majority of a constitutional assembly in nationwide elections, giving the former coup leader vast new power to carry out his "social revolution."
Cuban President Fidel Castro talked with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in October 2000. The two revolutionaries first met in 1994 when Chavez visited Havana upon his prison release. Politically, the duo have been closely aligned ever since.
Always the military man, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inspected maneuvers of the national Air Force in March 2001.
After winning a six year term as President in 2000, Chavez was confronted with numerous protests and demonstrations demanding for his step down However, he continued to rule Venezuela, eventually being elected for an additional two terms.
Bolivian president Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez were welcomed upon their arrival at Chimore airport in 2006. Three years later, Chavez sought to enact the third cycle of the Bolivar revolution, which eliminated term limits and allowed him to run for president indefinitely.
In October 2006, Chavez greeted his supporters during a campaign rally at Caracas. At the end of the year elections, he won another Presidential term.
In February 2005, Chavez met flood victims in Vargas state on the northern coast of Venezuela. The country sent helicopters and navy ships to evacuate thousands of people stranded by rising waters as torrential rains persisted.
Hugo Chavez and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toured a joint venture Venezuela-Iran tractor manufacturing plant in Sept 2006. That same year, Chavez referred to United States President George W. Bush as a devil during the UN General Assembly.
In 2012, Chavez pledged to deepen his socialist revolution after winning a comfortable victory that extended his presidency for an additional six years.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez spoke to soldiers in La Fria in October 2011. That same year, Chavez confirmed that he was diagnosed with cancer. However, he did not not reveal any specifics, leaving the future of his government in question.
Here, Hugo Chavez is seen with his daughters, Maria Gabriela, left, and Rosa Virginia as he holds a copy of Cuba's state newspaper Granma. The President was in Havana undergoing unspecified treatments following his fourth cancer-related operation.
The flag-draped coffin containing the body of late President Hugo Chavez is taken from the hospital where he died, to a military academy, where it will remain until his funeral in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez cry outside the military hospital where Chavez died. Seven days of mourning were declared, all school was suspended for the week and friendly heads of state were expected for an elaborate funeral.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro, will continue to run Venezuela as interim president and will be the socialists' candidate in an election to be called within 30 days. Maduro told his fellow Venezuelans, "Let there be no weakness, no violence." After the government announced Chavez's death, Venezuelans raced home and stocked up on food and water.
Servicemen help a woman move over a crowd of people waiting to see the body of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez inside the military academy where he is lying in state in Caracas, Venezuela. Chavez's funeral was postponed for a week so the entire country could visit the body if they wish.