Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chronology: Hugo Chavez's losing battle against cancer

(Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after his battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader's extraordinary 14-year rule of the OPEC nation.

Following is a chronology of the his fight against the disease:

JUNE 30, 2011

* A pale-looking Chavez addresses the nation by television from Cuba, where he says doctors operated on him twice to remove a cancerous tumor from his pelvis.

JULY 4, 2011

* The president makes a surprise return to Venezuela ahead of the country's Independence Day celebrations.

JULY 17, 2011

* Chavez returns to Cuba to begin chemotherapy.

AUG. 1, 2011

* Chavez appears on TV with his head closely shaved after losing his hair due to the chemotherapy. The hair later grows back.

OCT. 20, 2011

* Following tests in Havana, Chavez declares himself free from cancer, and his doctors say he is completely cured.

DEC. 2, 2011

* Chavez hosts a regional summit, minus representatives from the United States, in Caracas.

DEC. 20, 2011

* Chavez attends a Mercosur summit in Uruguay, his first political trip overseas since his illness was diagnosed.

FEB. 21, 2012

* Chavez says he will undergo another operation after a lesion was found in the same area where he had the tumor.

FEB. 28, 2012

* The president undergoes surgery in Havana.

MARCH 4, 2012

* Chavez says he will undergo radiation treatment in Cuba.

APRIL 5, 2012

* Chavez cries during Roman Catholic Mass, calls on God "not to take him yet" because he has more to do for Venezuela.

SEPT. 2012

* Often looking bloated and frail, the president limits his re-election campaigning to set-piece events in the nation's main cities, arriving on a truck before addressing large crowds - a far cry from his hands-on style before previous votes.

OCT. 7, 2012

* Chavez easily wins re-election in a presidential poll.

DEC. 8, 2012

* Chavez says doctors found a recurrence of malignant cells and that he must undergo another operation within days.

DEC. 11, 2012

* President undergoes operation of more than six hours.

FEB. 15, 2013

* Government publishes four photos of Chavez lying in a hospital bed, says he is breathing through a tracheal tube.

FEB. 18, 2013

* Chavez makes pre-dawn return to a Caracas military hospital.

MARCH 4, 2013

* Government says Chavez's breathing problems have worsened, and that he is suffering a new, severe respiratory infection.

MARCH 5, 2013

* Vice President Nicolas Maduro says Chavez has died.

(Compiled by Caracas newsroom; Editing by Kieran Murray and Philip Barbara)