• Reuters


Singapore’s first prime minister and the man widely credited with the city state’s economic success, Lee Kuan Yew, is hospitalized with severe pneumonia.

Lee, who turned 91 last September, was admitted on Feb. 5, the office said.

“His condition has stabilized and he remains on mechanical ventilation in the ICU (intensive care unit). He is conscious and lightly sedated,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement Saturday.

Although Lee has receded from the public and political scene, his health is watched closely as he is still seen as an influential figure for the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his oldest son.

Prime Minister Lee said on his Facebook page that he visited his father Saturday morning, wished him a happy Lunar New Year and a smooth recovery.

“This was the first year in a long while that we could not attend the Lee family reunion dinner,” Lee Hsien Loong said.

Lee Hsien Loong, who himself was discharged from hospital on Feb. 18, is recovering from a successful surgery to treat prostate cancer.

Lee Kuan Yew built the small Southeast Asian island into one of the world’s wealthiest nations during his 31 years as prime minister.

He retired from public life in 2011 when he resigned his Cabinet post after the ruling People’s Action Party had its worst showing at a general election since Singapore gained independence.

He has cut down his public appearances in recent months.

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