US filmmaker Oliver Stone hailed Friday the achievements of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and forecast that his vice president would be elected if the controversial leader dies of cancer.

“I think he’s going to be mourned as a national figure, he changed Venezuela forever, you have no idea how bad it was before him,” Stone told CNN, about the possibility Chavez may not survive.

Before Chavez, “people were fed up. He represents hope and change, the things that (President Barack) Obama stood for in our country in 2008,” he said, adding: “I was very happy that he won the re-election” in October. …

“I found him to be a magnanimous warm man, big man.”