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Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee “stable” following emergency heart procedure

Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee’s is in a stable condition after having to undergo emergency heart surgery following breathing difficulties that he developed over the weekend.

Related: Samsung promotes chairman’s son and heir, Jay Lee

The Samsung Medical Centre confirmed that the operation went off without a hitch on Saturday evening and that he is "now recuperating in a stable condition after undergoing an operation".

Lee first took charge of the South Korean technology firm following his father’s death in 1987 and stayed in charge until 2008 when he stood down as chairman after being successfully charged with tax evasion. He was given a presidential pardon in 2009 before returning as head of the company in 2010.

The company itself was founded way back in 1938 by Lee Byung-chull as a small trading firm and has ballooned into an entity worth some £121 billion that has its finger in every technological pie going.

Lee is widely considered to be the main reason behind Samsung’s resurgence as a powerhouse in the global technology industry that has led to them outselling Apple when it comes to smartphone sales.

It isn’t the first time that Lee has undergone a procedure related to respiratory problems with lung surgery carried out in the 1990s and ever since then he has apparently been suffering from breathing difficulties.

BBC reports that Lee spends much of his time overseas in the winter months in order to prevent respiratory problems flaring up. In terms of his work with Samsung, Lee has already handed senior roles to his son and two daughters, and the heir to the Samsung throne, his son Jay Lee, is in place as CEO.

Lee’s total worth is estimated at approximately $10 billion [£6 billion] by Forbes and that makes him South Korea’s richest man.