Before elections, though, the nation will grieve.
The government has declared seven days of mourning, and schools are closed through the week.
Leaders from around the world have begun to arrive in Venezuela for the funeral.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Uruguay's Jose Mujica traveled overnight. Bolivian President Evo Morales, a longtime Chavez ally, arrived Wednesday morning.
"We know that it has been a night of difficult emotions," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told local TV reporters as he greeted Morales at the airport. "We still haven't assimilated the deep pain that's being caused by the physical departure of our president, Hugo Chavez."
Chavez had been battling cancer since at least June 2011, but the administration never said what type of cancer he had or what organs were affected. The president had been in seclusion for almost three months.
As government officials prepare for the funeral, Maduro on Tuesday suggested that state enemies may have "infected" Chavez with his illness.
The escalating rhetoric between Chavez's successors and the opposition could keep the country on edge for months.
Dougglys Blanco, 21, an administrative assistant, said she worried for the future given the uncertainty caused by Chavez's death.
"I don't know what's going to happen to my country now," Blanco said. "We just have to hope for the best."
For 14 years, Chavez has led Venezuela. He survived four elections, a coup and a recall attempt as he became one of Latin America's most charismatic, influential and controversial leaders.
But on Tuesday, the socialist firebrand lost his long-running battle with cancer at the age of 58.
The former tank commander died in Venezuela's Military Hospital, just a few months after winning a fourth presidential term that would have kept him in office until 2019.
His passing puts Maduro at the helm of Latin America's fifth-largest economy until new elections can be scheduled.
It also leaves a power vacuum in this nation of 27 million -- where Chavez had been the face and force of his administration since 1999.
Chavez had undergone four rounds of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in his battle against cancer. His last round of treatment began Dec. 10, when he was hustled onto an airplane bound for Cuba.
It was the last time he would be seen in public or heard from. The surgery was plagued with problems and led to a respiratory infection, which required a tracheotomy that made it difficult for the once-verbose leader to speak.
Using the nation's vast oil wealth to push through socialist reforms and build a coalition of like-minded leaders in Latin America, Chavez became a darling of the global left and beloved by many of the nation's poorest. As he built homes, hospitals and schools, his "21st Century Socialism" dramatically reduced the income gap.
But as his power grew, so did the abuses. His administration expropriated thousands of acres of land and hundreds of companies, drawing fire from the business class and the traditional ruling elite. Corruption and impunity plagued his administration. Venezuela became one of the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere, beset by power outages and food shortages.
Despite the problems, Chavez's popularity rarely waned, and he won the Oct. 7 presidential race with 55 percent of the vote and an 11-point margin over his nearest rival.
"Hugo Chavez will be remembered as an extraordinary politician and as a failed leader," Venezuelan columnist and the nation's former trade minister, Moises Naim, told The Miami Herald. "Sadly, his legacy will not reflect any of the positive and lasting transformations that could have been achieved with the political hegemony and financial resources that he enjoyed.
"The Venezuela he leaves behind is politically polarized, economically weak and terrifyingly murderous. But mostly it is poorer, more unjust and vastly more corrupt than what it was before Hugo Chavez ruled it."
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