Hugo Chavez is battling for his life, according to a statement by Venezuela’s vice president, Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro stated on television on Tuesday that Chavez “is battling there for his health, for his life, and we’re accompanying him.”
It isn’t the first time Maduro has made a statement like it. The vice president stated on December 20 that Chavez “is fighting a great battle … for his life, for his health.”
USA Today reports that Chavez has not been seen in public since he announced the return of his cancer on December 11. He left for Cuba the next day to undergo surgery.
He returned from Cuba on February 18, but has stayed at a military hospital in Caracas since then. During his address on Thursday, Maduro also called for Venezuelans to pray for Chavez’s health to improve.
He added that the president’s health had suffered because he dedicated himself “body and soul” to the country. Hugo Chavez has battled cancer since June 2011. He has undergone four surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments for the cancer, which is believed to be in his pelvis.
Al Jazeera notes that Maduro stated of Chavez’s battle for life:
“Do you know why Comandante Chavez neglected his health and has been battling [cancer] for nearly two years? Because he completely surrendered body and soul and forgot all his obligations to himself in order to give himself to the homeland.”
Rumors have circulated in the past two months that Hugo Chavez is actually dead. The government released four photographs of Hugo Chavez on February 15 to prove that Chavez is still alive. The photographs show the Venezuelan president laying in a hospital bed with his daughters next to him. The government explained that the president had to have a temporary tracheostomy to help him breathe.
Chavez was re-elected in October and was supposed to be sworn in on January 10. The Supreme Court has delayed his swearing in until Hugo Chavez’s condition improves.
While it appears the rumors that Chavez died are inaccurate, the Venezuelan president is said to be fighting for his life.