Ailing Samsung Electronics Chief Lee Kun-Hee Dies

Ailing Samsung Electronics Chief Lee Kun-Hee Dies

SEOUL, South Korea: Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics, has died. He was 78.

A Samsung statement said Lee died on Sunday with his family members, including his son and de facto company chief Lee Jae-yong, by his side.

Lee Kun-Hee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has run Samsung, the biggest company in South Korea.

The Samsung statement says all of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him.

Lee Kun-hee inherited control from his father and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the worlds largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its rivals, Apples iPhones and Google Android phones.

It is South Koreas largest family-controlled business conglomerate and helped make the nations economy, Asias fourth-largest. Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement park operation and more.

Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Koreas main stock market.

Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.