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Lee Kun-hee, Korean Icon Who Transformed Samsung, Dies at 78

  • Producer of knockoffs became coveted brand for high-tech gear
  • ‘Change everything except your wife,’ Lee told his employees
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Watch: Lee Kun-hee, the man who transformed South Korea's Samsung Electronics into one of the world's most powerful tech titans, has died at the age of 78. (Source: Bloomberg)
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Lee Kun-hee, who transformed Samsung Electronics Co. from a copycat South Korean appliance maker into the world’s biggest producer of smartphones, televisions and memory chips, has died. He was 78.

Lee passed away on Sunday with his family by his side, the company said in a statement, without mentioning the cause of death. His family will hold a private funeral. He had been hospitalized since a heart attack in 2014 and was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s.