Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, a financial giant who has driven Korea’s economic growth, died at the age of 78 at Seoul Samsung Hospital in Ilwon-dong, Seoul on the 25th after six years of fighting. Although the specific cause of death has not yet been identified, the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee has suffered from myocardial infarction and lung disease, and there is a possibility of death due to sequelae. With the death of Chairman Lee, the family history of the Samsung family is also drawing attention.
Chairman Lee collapsed at his home in Itaewon-dong, Seoul due to acute myocardial infarction and was in hospital for more than 6 years and 5 months. On May 10, 2014, he suddenly showed symptoms of shortness of breath and arrived at the emergency room of Soonchunhyang University Hospital near his home in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Afterwards, he was diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction at Samsung Seoul Hospital and received a stent procedure.
Chairman Lee, who barely passed the hurdle, is unconscious, but is known to breathe on his own without a respirator or special medical equipment. The deceased has received rehabilitation treatment including wheelchair exercise in the VIP room of Samsung Seoul Hospital. His wife, Hong Ra-hee, the former director of the Leeum Museum of Art, was reported to have washed himself to prevent bed sores.
Acute myocardial infarction is life-threatening if not treated in time. Myocardial infarction is a symptom that occurs when the coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle is blocked with blood clots, and insufficient blood is supplied to the heart muscle, resulting in necrosis of heart cells. When the coronary artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle is blocked due to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, etc., it is caused by not supplying oxygen to the heart properly. Chairman Lee also had chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. I have also suffered from angina pectoris, which causes chest pain due to narrowing of the cardiovascular system. Myocardial infarction is also caused by old age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking.
With the development of medical technology, a procedure in which a stent is placed in the cardiovascular system is commonly used to treat myocardial infarction. A stent is a device that helps blood flow by inserting a metal mesh into a blocked blood vessel, and a tube that goes to the artery in the thigh or wrist is inserted to expand the narrowed blood vessel with a balloon and then insert the stent.
Chairman Lee is known to have undergone stent treatment even before the appearance of a heart attack due to acute myocardial infarction.
Chairman Lee Kun-hee is known to have had pneumonia frequently because his lungs were also weak. Chairman Lee was reported to be moving in a hospital bed at Samsung Seoul Hospital in 2004, and there have been reports of deteriorating health, including one week in 2008, four days in 2009, and ten days in August last year. It is known that he visited the hospital frequently for pneumonia-related treatment. Chairman Lee is known to have contracted pneumonia two to four times a year. Pulmonary edema was also seen, which decreased lung capacity due to water filling and swelling in the lungs.
In the medical community, the reason why the deceased suffered from toxic pneumonia was’Lung Cancer’, a family history, and’Charcomaritus’, a rare genetic disease. In the medical community, family history is a major indicator of disease diagnosis. Most of them look healthy when they are young, and they don’t know well, but later the disease develops. Pneumonia does not worsen and becomes lung cancer, but the risk of developing pneumonia is increased due to poor bronchial immunity during the onset and treatment of lung cancer.
Lung cancer was common among men of Samsung family. Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-cheol, Chairman Lee Kun-hee, and late Lee Maeng-hee, former chairman of Cheil Fertilizer, both had experiences of fighting lung cancer. Former Chairman Lee Maeng-hee, who filed a miscarriage lawsuit against Chairman Lee Kun-hee, underwent a major operation to cut a third of his lungs at the end of 2012. He later died in Beijing, China in August 2015.
Founder Lee Byung-cheol also passed away at the age of 78 in 1978 due to gastric and lung cancer sequelae. When Seondae Chairman Lee Byung-cheol passed away from lung cancer, it was unexpected that Chairman Lee Kun-hee would inherit lung cancer. Chairman Lee Kun-hee, the third son of Chairman Lee Byung-cheol, also paid special attention to his health, as cancer cells were found near his lungs in 1999, when he was 57 years old, before his father.
Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs infected with microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and coughing, phlegm, and shortness of breath appear, leading to death in severe cases. In response to the recommendation of the doctor to stay in a warm place during the dry winter months when the temperature is cold and dry, Chairman Lee Kun-hee spent more than half of the year in Hawaii, the United States, and Okinawa, and operated a shuttle operation. Some analysts said that Lee Byeong-cheol, the eldest daughter of the founder, and the late Lee In-hee, an advisor to Hansol Group, met with Hansol Group adviser to seek cooperation, including lawsuits related to inheritance.
In addition, there is an analysis that Lee suffered from Charcomaritus disease and weakened the muscles in the neck area, causing food to frequently pass to the airways, resulting in pneumonia. It is known that his father, Chairman Lee Byung-cheol, also had difficulty walking properly due to weak leg strength. Chairman Lee Jae-hyun, the grand nephew of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, also revealed that Charcomaritus is the family history. CJ Group released an official press release and announced that “Chairman Lee Jae-hyun is suffering from Charcomaritus, a genetic disease, chronic kidney failure, hypertension and hyperlipidemia at the same time.”
Charcomaritus is a genetic disease of the nervous system that occurs in about 1 in 2,500 people, and the muscles of the whole body gradually atrophy, weakening the strength, and deformation in the hands and feet. Inability to walk properly and dragging or flying are typical symptoms. Charcomaritus is dominant and is mostly inherited with a 50% chance. It occurs when either parent inherits the mutant gene that causes this disease. Charcomaritus still has no cure.
The medical staff of Samsung Medical Center have been making every effort to manage the respiratory diseases of Chairman Lee Kun-hee. However, the most fatal cause of Lee’s defeat was the heart, not the lungs. As a result, lung disease and heart disease remain a life-threatening family history for Samsung.
Chairman Lee’s survivors include his wife Hong Ra-hee, former director of Leeum Museum of Art, his son Jae-yong Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, his daughter Bu-jin Lee, president of Hotel Shilla, Seo-hyun Lee, chairman of Samsung Welfare Foundation, and Jae-yeol Kim, president of Samsung Economic Research Institute.