Jesse Jackson Sr. to attend Hugo Chavez funeral in Caracas

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. will be attending the state funeral for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday in Caracas, the nation's capital.

Jackson, founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, will be leading a delegation organized by the civil rights organization -- which is separate from the official U.S. delegation.

"I had the opportunity to know President Chavez in a direct and personal way," Jackson Sr. said in a statement to Fox News. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family and along with people around the globe, am deeply saddened by his passing."

According to a Jackson aide traveling with the civil rights leader, he is scheduled to arrive Thursday night.

Jackson Sr. was presented with the Liberator's Award by Chavez in 2005, and spoke to the Venezuelan Parliament as part of the ceremony.