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After a prolonged battle with cancer, the polarizing socialist leader Hugo Chavez has died. Chavez leaves behind a country in deep economic and political crisis. What's next for the people of Venezuela?

Venezuela

Chavez's last words: 'Yo no quiero morir, por favor no me dejen morir'

Before a fatal heart attack, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's last words were reportedly, "I don't want to die. Please don't let me die."

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's last words were reportedly: "Yo no quiero morir, por favor no me dejen morir."

In English, they read: "I don't want to die. Please don't let me die."

Gen. Jose Ornella told the Associated Press that Chavez couldn't speak in his final moments, but he said those words with his lips "because he loved his country, he sacrificed for his country."

Chavez, who had been in a Caracas hospital battling complications after cancer treatment in Cuba, died of a massive heart attack, according to Ornella, the country's presidential guard.

"He suffered a lot," Ornella said, though he did not give details on what kind of cancer Chavez was suffering from.

More on GlobalPost: Venezuela parades Chavez's coffin through the streets

Seven days of national mourning began after Chavez's death was announced on Tuesday.

The day after his death, throngs of Venezuelans flocked to the streets lining the route between the military hospital, where Chavez spent his final two weeks, and the military academy, where his body will lie in state until Friday's funeral.

A hearse draped in the country's flag appeared to float atop a sea of red-clad supporters, in scenes that reminded Venezuelans just how big a figure Hugo Chavez was.

On the sidelines of Wednesday's procession, some of the crowds created a surprisingly jovial atmosphere. Signs read, "Now more than ever, we are with Chavez." The same songs that play throughout election campaigns and official rallies blared on.

More on GlobalPost: Hugo and me: Memoirs of a GlobalPost correspondent

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130307/chavezs-last-words-i-dont-want-die