Samsung chairman and billionaire Lee Kun-hee passes away at age 78

Samsung chairman and billionaire Lee Kun-hee passes away at age 78

- Lee Kun-hee, the man who transformed Samsung Electronics Co. into the giant that is is, has passed away at the age of 78

- The billionaire died on Sunday surrounded by his family, the company confirmed in a statement

- Despite battling with his health for years, the exact cause of death has not been revealed

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Billionaire businessman Lee Kun-hee died at the age of 78 on Sunday, Samsung Electronics Co. confirmed in a statement.

It has not been revealed what caused Kun-hee's death but the businessman has been battling with his health since 2014 after a heart attack left him hospitalised. He was also treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s. Kun-hee will be laid to rest during a private funeral.

Kun-hee was South Korea's richest person and he made his fortunate, which is an estimated $20.7 billion, by transforming Samsung Electronics Co., which started out as a copycat South Korean appliance maker.

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The company was originally founded by his father, Lee Byung-chul, in the 1930s as a small trading company. Under the leadership of Kun-hee, Samsung became one of the world's leading smartphone, television and memory chip producers.

According to Bloomberg, the South Korean family ran industrial groups known as 'chaebol', and Samsung is the biggest company in the group. Since his heart attack six years ago, Kun-hee had still been known as the head of the family business.

Samsung Chairman and billionaire Lee Kun-hee passes away at age 78
Billionaire Lee Kun Hee and his daughter arrive for a company meeting at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. Photo: SeongJoon Cho / Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

According to CNN Business, Kun-hee had been comatose since the heart attack but he remained the titular chairman of the company. His company said:

“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business. His legacy will be everlasting.”

Samsung has since declined to comment on whether or not Kun-hee's son, Lee Jae-yong, would take his father's title as chairman. Social media users across the world paid tribute to the fallen tech giant.

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Twitter user, @Fredsworldview, commented:

"RIPLee Kun-hee. You will be remembered as a giant of strategic thinking."

Another tweep, @dancerldy, added:

"My condolences to the family and the company!"

Social media user, @Kumochannel, wrote:

"Thank you for your hard work. Rest easy."

Ahmed Yusuf Ubangari, @UbangariYusuf, said:

"Rest in peace. The whole world is proud of your uncommon, unrivalled and unprecedented company Samsung. The number one electronic company in the world in my view. We are proud of you as we mourn and grieve your death."

Muzi Mhlongo, @MuziMhlongo14, commented:

"May his soul rest in peace. He made an impact in this world. Well we are all in a death race."

In other news, the suspects in Senzo Meyiwa's murder have been revealed during a dramatic first court appearance on Tuesday under immensely tight security measures.

At the Boksburg Magistrate's Court, the suspects accused of the crime refused to enter the dock, denying any involvement in the matter. The suspect's identities have been revealed as Khulela Themba Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Chris Mncube, Mthokoziseni Zifozonke Mapisa and Sifiso Ntuli.

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Meanwhile, Ntsiki Mazwai has, in a rare turn of events, come to the defence of a fellow female celebrity.

The outspoken media personality has slammed Mzansi for pinning the murder of Senzo Meyiwa on Kelly alone especially since there were many others present in the house on the fateful day.

Taking to social media, Ntsiki tweeted:

"Am I the only one who finds it odd that ONLY Kelly Khumalo is catching heat... When there were so many of them in the house?"

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