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Samsung Chairman Stable After Heart Attack

Update Date: May 12, 2014 09:34 AM EDT

The chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Kun-hee, is in stable condition after suffering a heart attack late on Saturday night. He reportedly underwent an emergency operation in Seoul over the weekend. 

According to Time, the 72-year-old tech tycoon had respiratory difficulties and was admitted to Samsung Medical Center in Seoul where doctors performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him. 

"He is now recuperating in a stable condition after undergoing an operation," read a statement issued by Samsung Medical Center on Sunday.

Mr. Lee is often credited with shaping Samsung into one of the most profitable consumer electronics companies in the world. 

Mr. Lee has previously been treated for lung cancer and pneumonia, and his latest health problem will almost certainly renew calls for a concrete succession plan. His son, Lee Jae-yong, who served as the company's chief operating officer until 2012 and is now the Samsung's vice chairman, is widely expected to eventually take over from his father, reported NY Times. 

Samsung is one of the few handset makers to profit from selling smartphones. Yet last month, it reported the lowest quarterly sales in over a year at its handset unit. 

The company also has been fighting a bitter legal battle with Apple over copyright infringement claims and has been found guilty to a limited extent. 

"Chairman Lee has made a significant mark not just for Samsung but also for the Korean economy as a whole, by helping it globalize when the country embraced the new high-technology era," said Chung Sun Sup, chief executive officer of corporate researcher, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "That fuels even more concern over Samsung's future and its fate amid his absence."

Mr Lee Kun-hee was ranked among the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2005.

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