Hollywood celebs Oliver Stone, Sean Penn heap praise on Hugo Chavez
Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles
US filmmaker Oliver Stone, a long-time Hugo Chavez supporter, has hailed the late Venezuelan leader as a great hero, saying he will "live forever in history".
American actor and activist Sean Penn, another Hollywood friend to Chavez, also paid tribute on Tuesday, saying America had lost "a friend it never knew it had".
Stone said: "I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place.
"Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history … My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned."
Stone, director of JFK and Natural Born Killers, has regularly praised Chavez, whom he interviewed for a 2009 documentary South of the Border, exploring the outspoken leader's role in bottom-up change sweeping South America.
Oscar-winning actor Penn, reacting to Chavez's death, said: "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice-President [Nicolas] Maduro.
"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela."
Penn developed a friendship with Chavez, visiting him in Venezuela on multiple occasions, and also interviewed Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro. Chavez had described Penn as a "friend of just causes".