Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, died on Monday aged 91, triggering a flood of tributes to the man who oversaw the tiny city-state's rapid rise from a British colonial backwater to a global trade and financial centre.
Lee had receded from public and political life over the past few years, but he was still seen as an influential figure in the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his oldest son. In his lifetime, Lee drew praise for his market-friendly policies but also criticism at home and abroad for his strict controls over the press, public protest and political opponents.
He died at Singapore General Hospital, where he had been admitted on Feb 5 suffering from pneumonia. The government has declared a period of national mourning until his funeral on Sunday. Lee's family will hold a private wake in the next two days, then his body will lie in state at parliament till Saturday.
Thousands of people had been leaving flowers and cards at the hospital over the past three days, praying for his recovery, and many rushed back there when they awoke to the news of his death.
"Harry" Lee became Singapore's first prime minister in 1959 and held onto power for 31 years, overseeing the island's transformation from a port city battling crime and poverty into one of Asia's most prosperous nations. Even after stepping down as leader in 1990 - signing off as the world's then longest-serving prime minister - the acerbic Lee stayed on in the cabinet until 2011. He was a member of parliament until his death.
His leadership of Singapore was seen as a model for developing countries across the world, and politicians of all stripes said they took inspiration from his policies.
Modi to attend Lee's funeral
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the funeral of Lee on March 29, the Spokesperson in the external affairs ministry said. In his condolence message, Modi had said, "A far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders, Lee Kuan Yew's life teaches valuable lessons to everyone. News of his demise is saddening. In this hour of bereavement, our prayers are with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's family and the people of Singapore. May his soul rest in peace."