Two-time Academy Award winner and Tosca savior Sean Penn mourned the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with great sadness. The actor had been a longtime supporter of Chavez after the two met in 2007. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, Penn said:

"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion," says Penn in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela ... Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro."

Hugo succumbed to cancer on Tuesday. He was 58. According to his Wall Street Journal obituary, the controversial leader "used Venezuela's oil riches to pursue his vision of socialism and challenge the U.S." His vision, however, as pointed out in the New York Times, left a country divided.

Most recently, Penn starred in the action-packed film Gangster Squad featuring the white-hot Emma Stone and dreamy-eyed Ryan Gosling. [Edited for movie-release clarity.]