Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore’s first Prime Minister when the country gained Independence in 1965, has died on Monday (23rd March) at the age of 91.
He had been in hospital for several weeks with severe pneumonia and over the weekend, people left tributes and messages of goodwill at the hospital as his condition deteriorated.
The announcement was made “with deep sorrow” by the press secretary of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee’s son.
“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 3.18am. He was 91,” said the PMO. Arrangements for the public to pay respects and for the funeral proceedings will be announced later, it added.
Mr Lee, who was born in 1923, formed the People’s Action Party in 1954, then became Prime Minister in 1959. He led the nation through a merger with the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, as well as into Independence in 1965, and later transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub.
Mr Lee served as the city-state’s Prime Minister for 31 whole years and continued to work in government until 2011. Highly respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity, Mr Lee was also criticised for his iron grip on power.
Under him, freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts. But in his time at the office, he was a visionary, a legendary figure, and above all, a mentor as well as an inspiration to fellow politicians around the globe.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has also declared a period of National Mourning from 23rd March (Monday) – 29th March (Sunday) via an official statement, adding that a private family wake will be held from 23rd March (Monday) – 24th March (Tuesday) at Sri Temasek.
After which, Mr Lee’s body will lie in state at Parliament House from 25th March (Wednesday) – 28th March (Saturday), for the public to pay their respects.
Full statement here:
Lee Kuan Yew leaves behind 2 sons – Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang – and a daughter, Lee Wei Ling. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and loved ones, as well as our friends in Singapore.
Rest in peace, Mr Lee.
For more updates from the 7-day funeral service and public homage, visit the official Remembering Lee Kuan Yew Facebook page.