Sean Penn, Oliver Stone Mourn Death of Hugo Chavez

Michael Tran/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Sean Penn and Oliver Stone, two vocal supporters of controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, released statements following Chavez's death on Tuesday at the age of 58.

"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had.  And poor people around the world lost a champion," Penn said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.  "I lost a friend I was blessed to have.  My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela."

Penn, who appeared at a December candlelight vigil for the cancer-stricken leader, added, "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro."

Oliver Stone, who championed Chavez in his 2009 film South of the Border, said on Tuesday, ''I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place."

Stone's statement continues, "Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history."  He closed his comments with, "My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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