The head of Venezuela’s presidential guard says President Hugo Chávez died of a massive heart attack after great suffering.

The general told The Associated Press late Wednesday that he was with Chávez at the moment of his death on Tuesday.

Gen. Jose Ornella said that in his final moments Chávez could not speak aloud, but mouthed: “I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.”

Gen. Ornella spent the last two years with Chávez as the President battled an unspecified cancer in the pelvic region. He spoke to the AP outside the military academy where Chávez’s body lay in state.

Gen. Ornella said Chávez’s cancer was very advanced when he died but offered no details.

The government has said Chávez suffered a severe new respiratory infection.

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