Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Former South Korean President Kim Young-sam dies at age 87

Published:Saturday | November 21, 2015 | 11:34 PM
In this August 18, 2009 file photo, former South Korean President Kim Young-sam visits the memorial room for the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung at a hospital in Seoul, South Korea. A South Korean hospital official says Kim Young-sam has died.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP):

Former President Kim Young-sam, who formally ended decades of military rule in South Korea and accepted a massive international bailout during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, died Sunday.

He was 87.

The chief of Seoul National University Hospital, Oh Byung-Hee, told a televised briefing that Kim died there early Sunday. He said Kim is believed to have suffered from a severe blood infection and acute heart failure before he died.

Kim was taken to the hospital on Thursday due to a high fever, Oh said. In recent years, Kim had been treated at the hospital for stroke, angina and pneumonia, Oh added.

Kim was an important figure in South Korea's pro-democracy movement and opposed the country's military dictators for decades.

As president, Kim laid the foundation for a peaceful power transfer in a country that had been marked by military coups.

During his presidency from 1993-1998, he had his two predecessors indicted on mutiny and treason charges stemming from a coup.

Still, Kim pardoned the two convicted military strongmen - Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo - at the end of his term.

Kim also launched a popular anti-corruption campaign and vowed not to receive any political slush funds, though this was later tarnished when his son was arrested on charges of bribery and tax evasion.

He led South Korea in 1994 when the Clinton administration was considering attacking Nyongbyon — home to North Korea's nuclear complex — north of communist North Korea's capital, Pyongyang.

Kim lobbied against the idea, fearing a possible war.

Kim is survived by his wife and two sons and three daughters.