President Hugo Chavez died of a massive heart attack after great suffering and inaudibly mouthed his desire to live, the head of Venezuela’s presidential guard said late on Wednesday.

“He couldn’t speak but he said it with his lips ... ‘I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die’, because he loved his country, he sacrificed himself for his country,” Gen. Jose Ornella told The Associated Press.

The general said he spent the last two years with Chavez, including his final moments, as Venezuela’s President of 14 years battled an unspecified cancer in the pelvic region.

Gen. Ornella spoke to the AP outside the military academy where Chavez’s body lay in state.

The general said he didn’t know precisely what kind of cancer afflicted Chavez, but added — “He suffered a lot.”

— AP