Lee Kun-hee, the head of Samsung Electronics, which made the South Korean company a world name, has died at the age of 78.
Led by Lee Samsung It has risen to become the world’s largest maker of smartphones and memory chips, accounting for about one – fifth of South Korea’s GDP.
Known for a unique lifestyle, Lee was bedridden in 2014 with a heart attack. Little was known about his health, and even in his final days it remained shrouded in mystery.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kun-Hee Lee, President of Samsung Electronics,” a company statement said.
“President Lee passed away with his family on October 25, including Vice President Jay Y. Lee … his legacy will last forever.”
Samsung is by far the largest family-owned company in the world. These are chaebols It dominated trade in South Korea and transformed it from the devastation wrought by war to the world’s 12th largest economy. Nowadays they are under scrutiny for their dark political ties and rivalry – Lee has twice accused himself of a felony and in one case bribed the president.
When Lee was chairman of the group in 1987 – founded by his father to handle fish, fruit and noodles – Samsung was already the largest company in the country, with operations ranging from consumer electronics to construction.
Lee sharpened its focus and took it globally: when he had a heart attack in 2014, it produced the world’s largest smartphones and memory chips. It is a major global player in semiconductors and LCD displays.
Lee left the high walls of his private compound in central Seoul to visit the company’s headquarters, earning him the nickname “Monk King”.
His son, Lee Jae-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics, has been leading the company since the 2014 heart attack.
Had a son In 2017 he was jailed for five years Former President Park Geun-hye was acquitted of one of the most serious charges on appeal after being found guilty of bribery and other crimes. That case is being retried.
With the Associated Press