Sean Penn has paid tribute to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez following his death Tuesday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.
"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."
The actor added, "Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro."
enn, who first met Chavez in 2007, attended a candlelight vigil for the health of the Venezuelan leader in Bolivia in December, reports said.
Statements about Chavez also came Tuesday from filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone.
Stone, who produced the 2009 documentary "South of the Border" about Chavez and his leftist allies, wrote on Twitter:
Oliver Stone: "I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place. #Chavez 1/2"
"Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned. 2/2"
On his Twitter account, Michael Moore said: "Hugo Chavez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all"
Moore: "That made him dangerous. US approved of a coup to overthrow him even though he was a democratically-elected President."
Moore: Before they cheeleaded us into the Iraq War, the US media was busy cheering on the overthrow of Chavez: http://mmflint.me/Zn9CCQ
Moore: 54 countries around the world allowed the US to detain(& torture) suspects. Latin America, thanks 2 Chavez, was the only place that said no.
Of their meeting at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, Moore added: "We spoke for over an hour. He said he was happy 2 finally meet someone Bush hated more than him." http://yfrog.com/esk02tvpj