(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 3 paras)
SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in mourned the passing of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee on Sunday, saying the country has lost an iconic figure whose leadership put its semiconductor industry on the global map.
Moon delivered his condolences through his chief of staff, Noh Young-min, and Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for economic affairs, Lee Ho-seung.
Lee Kun-hee, one of the most crucial business leaders in South Korea's post-war economic advancement, died earlier Sunday at age 78, more than six years after being hospitalized following a heart attack. The two presidential aides visited Lee's funeral home at Samsung Medical Center in southern Seoul on Sunday evening.
"I'd like to express my deepest condolences for the passing of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, an icon of the Korean business community," Moon said. "With his audacious and innovative leadership, Chairman Lee developed the semiconductor industry into a major industry for Korea, and Samsung became the leader in the global smartphone market. As the face of the Korean economy, Samsung led the way for the growth of our economy."
Moon also credited Lee's leadership for inspiring South Korean corporations today as they try to navigate difficult waters during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lee's surviving family members, including his son Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, received guests from political and business circles.
Senior executives from Hyundai Group paid their respects, as did Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, a potential presidential candidate. National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug and Democratic Party Chairman Lee Nak-yon sent condolence wreaths.
Lee will be formally laid to rest in a ceremony starting at 9 a.m. Monday.