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Samsung chief has emergency heart operation

SEOUL - The head of South Korea's largest business group Samsung underwent an emergency operation Sunday after developing symptoms of heart failure, hospital officials said.

Lee Kun-Hee, 72, was admitted to a hospital near his home in Seoul Saturday night due to a respiratory problem.

He showed symptoms of heart failure and received emergency treatment before being moved early Sunday to Samsung Medical Centre where his problem was diagnosed as "acute cardiac infarction", the hospital said in a statement.

"He is now recuperating in a stable condition after undergoing an operation," it said.

The procedure involved the placement of a stent, a tube inserted to unblock blood vessels, Yonhap news agency said.

Lee is chairman of Samsung Electronics, the group’s flagship firm and the world’s largest technology company in revenue terms.

He is largely credited with turning Samsung -- founded by his father in 1938 -- into a global brand which is now the world’s top chipmaker and smartphone maker.

Lee is also the de facto head of the entire business empire, which employs some 200,000 staff in dozens of affiliates and dominates every aspect of life in South Korea.

Lee underwent lung surgery in the late 1990s and has been suffering from respiratory complications since then.

AFP


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