23 Mar 2015

Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew dies

9:52 am on 23 March 2015

Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, has died at the age of 91.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Photo: AFP

Mr Lee served as the city-state's prime minister for 31 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 targeted by the courts.

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," his office said in a statement.

It said Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital at 03:18am (local time) on Monday.