File photo taken on March 16, 2012 shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez greeting his supporters on his arrival at the Simon Bolivar International Airport of Maiquetia, Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan government confirmed President Hugo Chavez's death on March 5, 2013. (Xinhua)
CARACAS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The situation in Venezuela remained stable Tuesday following the death of President Hugo Chavez though his grieving supporters took to the streets, chanting slogans in memory of the socialist leader.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, accompanied by key members of cabinet, announced the death of Chavez, who had battled with cancer for almost two years.
Maduro referred to the leader's death as a "historical tragedy" and called on Venezuelans to be vigilant for the peace of the country.
During a separate televised meeting of political and military leaders at the presidential palace, the vice president said that the "imperialist" conspirators, in alliance with domestic foes, had infected the president with cancer.
And a panel will be set up to determine the causes of Chavez's illness, he said.
In his speech, Defense Minister Diego Molero appealed for "unity, tranquility and understanding" among Venezuelans.
He pledged that the armed forces will defend the constitution and respect Chavez's wishes.
The Venezuelan government declared seven days of mourning. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said Chavez's remains will lie in state at a Caracas military academy until a formal funeral ceremony on Friday.