Singapore holds breath as former leader Lee Kuan Yew's condition worsens

Reuters

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People lay flowers and well-wishes for Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Singapore General Hospital in Singapore March 21, 2015. Photo credit: Reuters People lay flowers and well-wishes for Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Singapore General Hospital in Singapore March 21, 2015. Photo credit: Reuters

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Singaporeans were transfixed by news about the health of the country's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, leaving flowers and tributes at the hospital where he is being treated, as the government said on Sunday his condition had weakened further.
The 91-year-old Lee, who is seen as the founding father of modern Singapore, which he led from 1959 until 1990, has been in hospital with severe pneumonia since Feb. 5.
Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister and Lee Kuan Yew's son, joined well-wishers at the Singapore General Hospital on Sunday in the corner designated for people to leave flowers and cards.
"There were many cards, flowers and other gifts," the prime minister wrote on his Facebook page. "Glad I had a chance to meet and thank well-wishers for their support."
The previous day, he visited the community club in his father's constituency of Tanjong Pagar and wrote a message on a large banner of goodwill notes left by residents. It read, "Dear Papa, Hope you get better!"
Others have taken to social media to express admiration and gratitude in an outpouring of emotion rare in the city state.
Lee Kuan Yew, one of the predominant figures of modern Asian politics, is widely credited with transforming Singapore from a British colonial outpost into a financial powerhouse with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
"In a broader picture, coming from the United States, and seeing what Singapore has meant to South-East Asia and the U.S., he's built something quite substantial," said 56-year-old David Epstein, an American working in Singapore, who went to the hospital with his family.
"Can't predict what the future is, but I think it is important to pay tribute to that contribution."

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