Entertainment
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (C) and US actor Sean Penn (R) speak to the press at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, on February 16, 2012. Penn thanked Chavez for the support given by the Venezuelan government to his NGO for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, while the president praised the humanitarian work of the artist in the Caribbean country.   AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ        (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (C) and US actor Sean Penn (R) speak to the press at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, on February 16, 2012. Penn thanked Chavez for the support given by the Venezuelan government to his NGO for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, while the president praised the humanitarian work of the artist in the Caribbean country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)  

Actor Sean Penn on Hugo Chavez’s death: ‘I lost a friend I was blessed to have’

Photo of Taylor Bigler
Taylor Bigler
Entertainment Editor

Actor Sean Penn has one fewer friend now that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died.

“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 told The Hollywood Reporter. “I lost a friend I was blessed to have.”

Penn continued: “My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela. Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro.”

Chavez, who was president of Venezuela for 14 years, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.

Director Oliver Stone also shared his thoughts on Chavez’s death with THR.

“I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place,” Stone said. “Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history.”

“My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned,” he concluded.

Both the actor and director had been long-time supporters of Chavez, and credited him with positive social changes in South America.

Follow Taylor on Twitter