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Sean Penn, Oliver Stone mourn death of Hugo Chavez

sean penn lights up_092811

U.S. actor and director Sean Penn lights a cigarette during a news conference at the Zurich Film Festival in Zurich September 28, 2011.Reuters

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had two big backers in Hollywood in Sean Penn and Oliver Stone, and each released a statement following Chavez's death on Tuesday.

"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion," actor Sean Penn told 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 had attended a candlelight vigil for Chavez in Venezuela in December.

Oliver Stone, who championed Chavez in his 2009 film "South of the Border," went even further in his praise.

''I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place," he said. "Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned."

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