|Chavez a great hero and champion of poor, say Oliver Stone and Sean Penn
American filmmaker and long-time Hugo Chavez supporter Oliver Stone hailed the late Venezuelan leader as a “great hero’’ saying he will “live forever in history.’’
Actor and activist Sean Penn, another Hollywood friend to Chavez, also paid tribute saying the world's poor had lost a “champion’’ and America had also lost “a friend it never knew it had.’’
JFK and Natural Born Killers director Stone said: “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place, AFP reports.
“Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history,’’ he added in a statement released by his publicist, adding: “My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.''
Stone has regularly praised Chavez, whom he interviewed for a 2009 documentary South of the Border, exploring the outspoken Venezuelan leader's role in bottom-up change sweeping South America.
Penn, in a statement reacting to Chavez's death aged 58, added: “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,’’ he added
The Oscar-winning actor developed a friendship Chavez, visiting him in Venezuela on multiple occasions, and also interviewing Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro. Chavez has described the actor as a “friend of just causes.’’