Scores of leaders from five continents joined hundreds of thousands of grieving Venezuelans today for the state funeral of Hugo Chavez.
The funeral at the military academy where Mr Chavez has been lying in state was an enormous and heartfelt tribute to the former paratrooper after 14 tumultuous years at Venezuela's helm.
Hours before the visiting dignitaries arrived, Venezuelans in their hundreds of thousands were still filing past the glass-covered casket in a round-the-clock marathon of tears, prayers and military salutes.
More than 30 heads of state attended the funeral taking it in turns to form an honour guard around the coffin.
US Democrats Gregory Meeks and William Delahunt represented the US.
One of the few South American leaders not to attend the funeral was Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez, but only because her doctor advised that she was in no condition to withstand the tropical heat.
She paid her respects at Mr Chavez's casket on Thursday before flying back to Argentina, describing the Venezuelan as "the best friend that Argentina had, when everybody else abandoned us" in Twitter messages.
The normally traffic-choked streets of most of Caracas were empty, with schools and many businesses closed during a national week of mourning.
But throngs of people filled the streets around the military academy.
Inside the hall, uptempo folk music from Mr Chavez's home state was played as mourners tapped their feet in time.
Ambassador Catherine Nettleton represented Britain.
Following the funeral, National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello swore in Vice-President Nicolas Maduro as interim president.
Mr Maduro has announced that he will be the candidate of Mr Chavez's ruling Bolivarian party against likely opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
The funeral was the climax of an astonishing three-day outpouring of grief that has followed Mr Chavez's death.
At least 15 countries have declared days of national mourning, including Cuba, China, Argentina and Iran - highly unusual for the leader of another country.
Mr Maduro announced on Thursday that the late president's body will be embalmed and displayed inside a glass tomb at a military museum not far from the presidential palace.
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