MANILA- The Philippines on Monday joined the Singaporean people in mourning the passing of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
"Mr. Lee was a visionary statesman who built Singapore into an economic powerhouse and modern society that has been a positive force not only in the region but also in the world. His fortitude, political will and wisdom will continue to be an inspiration in the years to come," a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
Lee, Singapore's first prime minister and architect of the tiny city-state's rapid rise from British military outpost to global trade and financial center, died on Monday aged 91.
Although Lee had receded from public and political life over the past few years, he was still seen as an influential figure in the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his oldest son.
"The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
It said he had died at 3:18am local time (3:18 p.m. EDT) at Singapore General Hospital, where he had bee admitted on Feb. 5 suffering from pneumonia.
Thousands of people had been leaving flowers and cards at the hospital over the past three days, praying for his recovery. With a report by Reuters