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Samsung chairman and billionaire Lee Kun-hee passes away aged 78

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Lee Kun-hee, the man who transformed Samsung Electronics Co. into the giant it is has passed away at the age of 78 – The billionaire died on Sunday, October 25, surrounded by his family, – Despite battling with his health for years, the exact cause of his death was also revealed

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: UGC It was not yet immediately revealed what caused Kun-hee’s death but the businessman had 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 and he will be laid to rest in a private funeral.

Kun-hee was South Korea’s richest person and he made his fortune, which was estimated to be $20.7 billion, by transforming Samsung Electronics Co.

The company started out as a copycat South Korean appliance maker. It was originally founded by his father, Lee Byung-chul, in the 1930s as a small trading company for making noodles. Under the leadership of Kun-hee, Samsung became one of the world’s leading smartphone, television and memory chip producers. PAY ATTENTION: Click ‘See First’ under ‘Follow’ Tab to see Tuko.co.ke news on your FB Feed According to Bloomberg, the South Korean family ran industrial groups known as ‘chaebol’, and Samsung is the biggest company in the group. According to CNN Business, Kun-hee had been comatose since the heart attack but he remained the titular chairman of the company. “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,” his company said.

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. 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.