Sean Penn, Oliver Stone mourn death of Hugo Chavez

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."