Samsung chairman stable after suffering heart attack

Lee Kun-hee, 72, undergoes surgery after suffering from breathing difficulties that required him to be resuscitated.

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Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The chairman of Samsung Electronics was in stable condition Sunday after suffering a heart attack, according to media reports.

Lee Kun-hee, 72, underwent surgery early Sunday after suffering from breathing difficulties late Saturday and being resuscitated, the Samsung Medical Center said in a statement to the media. The hospital said Lee was recuperating after undergoing a cardiac procedure for acute myocardial infarction.

Lee has reportedly suffered from respiratory problems since undergoing surgery for lung lymphoma in 1999. He was also hospitalized last August for pneumonia.

Lee, who took over as chairman of the South Korean electronics conglomerate in 1987 after his father's death, is credited with helping to turn the Suwon, South Korea-based business into the world's largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Lee resigned in 2008 after being convicted of tax evasion but returned in 2010 after a presidential pardon.

Lee has promoted his children to senior positions in the company. His son, Lee Jae Yong, was appointed vice chairman in 2012 and is expected to eventually succeed him as chairman.

Lee is South Korea's richest individual with a net worth of around $10.8 billion, according to estimates by Forbes magazine.