Samsung founder's first son dies at 84

PHOTO: The Korea Herald/ANN

Samsung Group founder's eldest son Lee Maeng-hee, father of CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun, died Friday at age 84. He had been hospitalised at a Beijing hospital after his lung cancer spread to other parts of his body.

The late Lee was often called the "ill-fated prince" of the Samsung empire.

His father Lee Byung-chull had originally designated him as his successor in the early 1960s. However, Maeng-hee clashed with his father on issues including his aggressive management style, which led the group founder to transfer power to his third son Kun-hee, now the ailing Samsung patriarch, in 1976.

The ousted eldest son focused on Cheil Jedang, now CJ Group, until its separation from Samsung in 1993. CJ is currently led by his son.

Lee also started his own business by establishing Cheil Fertilizer, but after its failure, he had been staying overseas since the 1980s.

He had also been involved in several legal disputes with his younger brother Kun-hee for decades. The disputes ended in 2012 when he decided not to appeal to a court decision that rejected his demand for a 940 billion won (S$1.1 billion) share of his sibling's inherited wealth.

The two brothers failed to normalise their relationship again.

According to CJ, Lee's funeral will be held at Seoul National University Hospital, organised by CJ Group vice chairman Lee Chae-wook.

Considering the time required to transport his body, more detailed schedules will be finalized later this week.