Venezuela mourns El Presidente
Many Venezuelans saw Chavez's nationalistic streak as an example they must strive to live up to.
"I love Chavez and will continue loving him," said Hugo Bolivar, 60, who works as a security guard for the city of Caracas. "I have Bolívar's last name and the president's first name. He cared a lot about his country - just like me."
Many people carried banners reading "I am Chavez" and waved red, yellow and blue Venezuelan flags.
At various points, recordings of Chavez singing songs or making impassioned speeches blared through loudspeakers, reducing many to tears.
Chavez's imprint may endure for years. His preferred successor, acting president Nicolas Maduro, is favored to win an election that is expected to be called in the next 30 days.
Fans of Chavez hope that Mr Maduro, who for now lacks the charisma and zeal of his former boss, could grow into his new role.
Mr Maduro was surrounded by a sea of people today as he walked with Chavez's coffin toward a monumental esplanade among probably one of the largest crowds of his political life.
"Charisma is like a seed that you must plant to harvest later. Chavez wasn't all that charismatic when he started out. Maduro could learn by doing," said Manuel Montanez (48).
Mr Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader, will be the government's candidate at a new presidential election that is likely to pit him against opposition leader and state governor Henrique Capriles.
The authorities said a new vote would be called within 30 days, but it was not immediately clear if that meant the election would be held within 30 days - or whether the date for the ballot would be announced within 30 days.
Just a few hours before announcing Chávez’s death, Mr Maduro made a virulent speech against enemies he claimed were trying to undermine Venezuelan democracy.
And he said two US military attaches had been expelled for trying to destabilise the nation. Maduro alleged that "imperialist" enemies had infected the president with cancer as one of a number of conspiracies with domestic opponents.
The government declared seven days of mourning and closed all schools and universities until next Monday.
Messages of condolences for Mr Chávez's death came from around the world, ranging from film-maker Oliver Stone to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US president Barack Obama.
Mr Obama said his administration was interested in "developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government."
Iran today declared a day of national mourning today after the death of Mr Chávez, who shared the Islamic Republic's loathing for US "imperialism".
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had forged a public friendship with Chávez characterised by lavish mutual praise, hugs and light-hearted moments, may attend Chavez's funeral on Friday, state news agency IRNA reported.
"Hugo Chávez is a name known to all nations. His name is a reminder of cleanliness and kindness, bravery ... dedication and tireless efforts to serve the people, especially the poor and those scarred by colonialism and imperialism," Mr Ahmadinejad said.