South Korea's 14th president, Kim Young-sam, who left a significant impression on the nation’s democratization, died on November 22. He was 88.
Seoul National University Hospital said that Kim died of acute stress derived from septicemia and heart failure.
A state funeral was held for Kim at the National Assembly on November 26 amid the attendance of some seven-thousand people. Kim was laid to rest at the Seoul National Cemetery.
Born on December 20, 1927 in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, Kim set new records in the nation’s political arena. In 1954, at the age of 25, he was elected in the third general elections, becoming the youngest person to win a parliamentary seat.
He was a nine-term lawmaker and served as a party chief five times.
He was elected president in 1992, putting an end to more than 30 years of military government. While in office, Kim worked to get rid of the remnants of dictatorship through bold reforms. Among such steps was making it mandatory for public officials to declare their assets and implementing the real-name financial transaction system.
However, Kim suffered criticism for winning the presidential election after controversially joining forces with the parties of former President Roh Tae-woo and then opposition party leader Kim Jong-pil. South Korea receiving a massive bailout from the International Monetary Fund because of economic mismanagement in 1997 is also another factor considered to have stained Kim’s career.
Despite such flaws, Kim’s image as a fighter bringing democracy to the South Korean people remains untarnished.