|Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, center, visits his father Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee's resting place in Suwon, where the group founder Lee Byung-chull is also buried. From left is Samsung Foundation President Lee Seo-hyun, Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin, Vice Chairman Lee and the late chairman's widow Hong Ra-hee. Yonhap|
By Kim Yoo-chul
Attended by family, close relatives and long-time friends, the funeral of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee was held in the conglomerate's prestigious Samsung Medical Center in southern Seoul, Wednesday.
The funeral ceremony, which started around 7:30 a.m. in a funeral hall at the center, lasted about an hour. The late chairman's widow Hong Ra-hee, his only son Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, oldest daughter Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin and younger daughter Samsung Foundation President Lee Seo-hyun and Seo hyun's husband Kim Jae-yeol, CEO at Samsung Economic Research Institute, attended the ceremony.
The late chairman's sister Shinsegae Group Chairwoman Lee Myung-hee and his nephew CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun were also in attendance. Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Euisun, Honorary Kolon Chairman Lee Woong-ryeol and Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn's three sons including the group's next leader Hanwha Solution CEO Kim Dong-kwan also appeared for the private ceremony at the hospital.
The funeral started with an introduction of the late chairman's biography read by Samsung Economic Research Institute Chairman Lee Su-bin, the former acting Samsung chairman, who reminisced about the late chairman's efforts to expand Samsung's footprint in semiconductors.
Kim Phil-kyu, K.P.K. International chairman and a longtime friend of the late chairman, said during the ceremony, "I am here to share something that I've shared with the late chairman as a friend during our high school days. Kun-hee was curious and he told me about the significance of the semiconductor business which he learned from his father, the group founder Lee Byung-chull. While I have visited a lot of countries, the late chairman is the man who did far better than his father. Like what his father did, Vice Chairman Lee will help grow Samsung much better by writing a new history."
Later, video clips were shown highlighting the late chairman's career, from his efforts to grow Samsung into a global company starting when he took power of the group in December 1987, up to his hospitalization in 2014, as well as his contributions to leveling up Korea's position in sports diplomacy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
At 8:50 a.m., the funeral procession headed for Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, in Hannam-dong and briefly traveled to his home and main guest house Seungjiwon in Itaewon before moving to Samsung's Giheung-Hwaseong semiconductor plant south of Seoul, where employees lined up for a last farewell to the late chairman. The procession ended in Suwon, where Lee was laid to rest at the Lee family's burial site.
Lee died on Oct. 25 at the age of 78 six years after he was hospitalized after a heart attack. President Moon Jae-in didn't pay tribute at the service, but observed Lee's passing with a floral arrangement sent to the medical center.
Lee Kun-hee was a prominent business mogul who transformed Samsung, which started as a cheap seller, into a global electronics giant after taking control of the company. Today, Samsung is the world's top manufacturer of smartphones, TVs and displays.