Lee Kun-hee, the long-time chairman of Samsung died today at the age of 78.
Lee, the son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, came to power in the late 1980s just as South Korea transitioned from dictatorship to democracy with the political handover from military strongman Chun Doo-hwan to Roh Tae-woo.
The South Korean billionaire transformed the conglomerate into one of the world’s largest business empires. Lee invested in and is probably most famous today for building up the conglomerate’s Galaxy consumer smartphone line, which evolved Samsung from an industrial powerhouse to a worldwide consumer brand.
Mr Lee Kun-Hee had been incapacitated since a heart attack in 2014 and was hospitalized in stable condition. Samsung has announced his death but did not specify the cause.
Lee leaves behind roughly $20 billion in wealth, and he is the wealthiest South Korean citizen according to Bloomberg. He is survived by his wife as well as four children.