Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the company said.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics,” the firm said in a statement.
Lee, who turned Samsung Electronics into a global tech giant, was left bedridden by a heart attack in 2014.
Lee Kun-hee served as chairman of the Samsung Group from 1987 to 2008 and from 2010 to 2020. He is credited with the transformation of Samsung to the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, televisions, and memory chips. He was also a member of the International Olympic Committee. He was the third son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul. With an estimated net worth of US$21 billion at the time of his death, he was the richest person in South Korea, a position that he had held since 2007.
Lee was convicted twice, once in 1996 and subsequently in 2008, for corruption and tax evasion charges, but was pardoned on both instances. In 2014, Lee was named the world’s 35th most powerful person and the most powerful Korean by Forbes’s list of the world’s most powerful people along with his son Lee Jae-yong.