Venezuelan vice-president says Chavez battling for health and life
A woman holds a candle along with a poster of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez at a candlelight vigil to pray for his health as he remains in a hospital undergoing cancer treatment, in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. (AP / Ariana Cubillos)
Published Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:28PM EST
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's vice-president said Thursday that President Hugo Chavez is fighting for his life while he continues to undergo treatment more than two months after his latest cancer surgery.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro said on television that Chavez "is battling there for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him."
The vice-president has used similar phrasing in the past, saying on Dec. 20 that Chavez "is fighting a great battle ... for his life, for his health."
Chavez hasn't spoken publicly since before his latest cancer operation in Cuba on Dec. 11. He returned to Venezuela on Feb. 18, and the government says he has been undergoing more treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.
Maduro also called for Venezuelans to keep praying for Chavez and to remain loyal to the president. He said Chavez's health had suffered because he had dedicated himself "body and soul" to his work as president.
Chavez himself has previously acknowledged that he was neglecting his health in recent years, often staying up late and drinking dozens of cups of coffee a day.
The president has undergone surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments since June 2011, when he first announced his cancer diagnosis. He hasn't specified the type of cancer or the exact location in his pelvic region where his tumors have been removed.