PM Lee 'grieved beyond words'

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was "grieved beyond words" at the death of his father, Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died yesterday at 3.18am at the Singapore General Hospital aged 91.

In an emotional speech to the nation that was broadcast live from the Istana at 8am, PM Lee paid tribute to Mr Lee in Malay, Mandarin and English.

Initially calm and composed in a grey shirt and navy tie, PM Lee had to stop several times during the Mandarin portion of his speech to compose himself before continuing.

Speaking in Mandarin, he thanked Singaporeans for conveying their care and concern when Mr Lee lay critically ill in hospital.

The messages of support gave PM Lee and his family much comfort, he added.

"The best way to honour him would be to carry on his life's passion and stay as one united people to keep Singapore prosperous and strong."

Switching to English, PM Lee said: "The first of our founding fathers is no more. He inspired us, gave us courage, kept us together and brought us here.

"He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won't see another man like him."

"As he himself put it, towards the end of his life, and I quote: 'I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country. There's nothing more that I need to do. At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life.' "

But even as Singaporeans mourn Mr Lee's death, PM Lee urged them also to "honour his spirit".

"Let us dedicate ourselves as one people to build on his foundations, strive for his ideals and keep Singapore exceptional and successful for many years to come," he said.

"May Mr Lee Kuan Yew rest in peace."

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