You are here

Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, dies at 91

FORMER prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, a co-founder of the People's Action Party, has died at the age of 91.

"The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18 am," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said early on Monday.

Arrangements for the public to pay respects and for the funeral proceedings will be announced later, it added.

This followed news earlier on Sunday that his condition had worsened.

On Feb 5, Mr Lee had been admitted to the Singapore General Hospital where he remained in intensive care with severe pneumonia.

According to a statement from the PMO on Feb 21, Mr Lee's condition had stabilised. He had also been conscious and lightly sedated. By Feb 28, his condition had improved slightly, though he remained sedated and on mechanical ventilation.

Mr Lee's condition then took a turn for the worse due to an infection. A statement from the PMO said that Mr Lee was on antibiotics and that the doctors were closely monitoring his condition. His condition then deteriorated further.

Born on Sept 16, 1923, Mr Lee was Singapore's first prime minister, from 1959 to 1990. He had also represented the Tanjong Pagar area for the last 60 years, since 1955.

After stepping down as prime minister in 1990, he was appointed senior minister in the Cabinet, a post that he held until 2004 when he was appointed minister mentor.

Mr Lee stepped down from the Cabinet after the last general election in 2011.

His wife, Kwa Geok Choo, died in 2010 after a long illness. They have two sons and one daughter - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore chairman Lee Hsien Yang, and National Neuroscience Institute director Lee Wei Ling.