Lee Kun Hee

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun Hee in stable condition after surgery following heart attack

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun Hee is in stable condition after surgery following a heart attack.

Lee, 72, was operated on early yesterday at Samsung Medical Center after being resuscitated the previous night at Soonchunhyang University Hospital following an acute myocardial infarction, Rhee So Eui, a spokeswoman for Samsung Group, said in an e-mailed statement.

Lee, who was treated for lung cancer in 2000, underwent a procedure to help him get more oxygen after experiencing difficulty breathing the night of May 10.

After taking over the Suwon, South Korea-based business in 1987, Lee built it into the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips, becoming South Korea’s richest man in the process. In 2012, he appointed his son, Lee Jae Yong, vice chairman, and his daughter, Lee Boo Jin, president of affiliate Hotel Shilla Co. (008770) as Samsung Group grew into South Korea’s biggest conglomerate.

“Chairman Lee has made a significant mark not just for Samsung but also for the Korean economy as a whole, by helping it globalize when the country embraced the new high-technology era,” said Chung Sun Sup, chief executive officer of corporate researcher Chaebul.com. “That fuels even more concern over Samsung’s future and its fate amid his absence.”

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