Hugo Chavez: Who is Nicolas Maduro?
5 March 2013 Last updated at 22:22 GMT
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro was named by President Chavez as his preferred successor in December 2012.
"He is a complete revolutionary, a man of great experience despite his youth, with great dedication and capacity for work, for leading, for handling the most difficult situations," Mr Chavez said.
Sarah Grainger looks at Mr Maduro's rise to the limelight.