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Samsung chairman undergoes surgery after heart attack

Lee Kun-hee

SEOUL -- The 72-year-old chairman of Samsung Electronics has been hospitalized following a heart attack but is heading toward recovery.

     Lee Kun-hee, the third son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull, had trouble breathing late Saturday at his home here and was sent to a nearby hospital. Staffers performed CPR because Lee showed symptoms of cardiac arrest. After his condition stabilized, he was transferred to a Samsung group hospital before dawn Sunday and received an operation to insert a stent.

     Senior company officials, including Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, gathered at the hospital, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Lee's eldest son, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, reportedly rushed back from an overseas business trip after hearing about his father's condition.

     The chairman's health has been a matter of concern. Lee received treatment for lung cancer in the U.S. from the end of 1999 to 2000. And last August, he was hospitalized for about 10 days in Seoul for pneumonia.

     Lee shepherded the group to substantial growth through success in semiconductors and smartphones. He goes to the office only once or twice a week but is said to have the final say on key decisions, including personnel appointments and big investments. Group operations are expected to be impacted if health issues keep him away from work for an extended period.

 

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