Longtime critics had a different view, with some saying his death could be seen as an opportunity for change.
"At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy," Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
Opinions varied too among CNN readers who offered their thoughts on iReport.
"We can't in the U.S. always looks at somebody and just label them as a dictator," said Omekongo Dibinga, a motivational speaker from Washington DC.
"At the end of the day, he's somebody who really wanted to help others to do better. For that he should be respected, even by those who did not agree with his policies."
Carlos Quijada said he fled Venezuela 10 years ago as a teen because there was no future there.
"My life was completely altered because of that man. And I will not hide the fact that I am happy that he is no longer alive," he said. "I left Venezuela because my brother got kidnapped, our house got burglarized, cars stolen, my parents had an import business and the currency control made it impossible for them to import anything anymore."