Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and first Prime Minister, died on Tuesday at the age of 91 of severe pneumonia.
Lee had been hospitalised at the Singapore General Hospital for severe pneumonia since February 5.
In a statement issued today, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 3.18 am (local time), the Straits Times reported.
Arrangements for the public to pay respects and for the funeral proceedings will be announced later.
The PMO has been giving daily updates on Lee since March 17 when his condition took a turn for the worse due to an infection.
There were indications regarding Lee’s health which had been slipping in recent years.
In 2010 he was admitted to the hospital with a chest infection and in early 2013, Lee — and then 89 – was hospitalised and treated treated for “stroke-like symptoms.”
Lee is considered the founding father of Singapore and is credited with transforming the city-state into an economic powerhouse within just three decades. He quit as prime minister in 1990 after 31 years in office.
Lee is survived by his two sons, current Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 63, and Lee Hsien Yang, 57, daughter Lee Wei Ling, 60, seven grandchildren and two siblings. His wife died in 2010, at the age of 89.
A charismatic figure, Lee co-founded the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has governed Singapore since 1959.
Lee, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, also attracted criticism for stifling media freedom and for the harsh treatment of political opponents.