Venezuela's Chavez loses hair from chemotherapy

August 1, 2011 22:48

CARACAS - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez appeared on television on Monday with his head closely shaved and bald patches from hair loss caused by chemotherapy for a cancer that has slowed him ahead of a re-election bid.

Wearing a somber suit and red tie, Chavez talked about the reasons for his hair loss, saying it was a sign the chemotherapy was working against fast-growing cells such as those associated with cancer.

"This is my new look," the president joked during his second hour-long appearance of the day and then held up a photograph of himself as a toddler with little hair. "I'm returning to my youth," he said.

A close friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Chavez had a large tumor removed in Havana in June and has since been back to the Communist-led island for treatment. His illness raised doubts about his fitness to run in elections next year but he has looked stronger in recent days.

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