March 22, 2015 / 8:34 PM / 2 years ago

Modern Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, dies at 91: official

Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew speaks during his book launch at the Istana in Singapore August 6, 2013.Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister and architect of the tiny Southeast Asian city-state's rapid rise from British tropical outpost to global trade and financial center, died early on Monday, aged 91, the Prime Minister's Office said.

"Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18 A.M," a statement said.

Lee, a Cambridge-educated lawyer, is widely credited with building Singapore into one of the world's wealthiest nations on a per capita basis with a strong, pervasive role for the state and little patience for dissent.

He co-founded the People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959 and led the newly born country when it was separated from Malaysia in 1965.

Reporting by Singapore bureau; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Ralph Boulton

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