Hospital official: Ex-South Korean President Kim Young-sam dies

Kim was a major player in South Korea's rise to democracy. 

Seoul: A South Korean hospital official says former President Kim Young-sam has died. He was 87.

The chief of Seoul National University Hospital, Oh Byung-Hee, said Kim died there early today. He said Kim is believed to have suffered from a severe blood infection and acute heart failure before he died.

Kim was a major player in South Korea's rise to democracy. He opposed the country's military dictators for decades and laid the foundation for a peaceful power transfer as president.

He balked at the Clinton administration's idea of striking a North Korean nuclear complex in 1994. Kim feared a possible war.

Kim faced humiliation when he accepted a USD 58 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s.



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