Former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui dies at age 97

Former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui is seen in this undated file photo. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s first popularly elected president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has died aged 97 from septic shock and multiple organ failure at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, after being hospitalized for over five months, according to the hospital.

Lee had been hospitalized since early February after choking on a glass of milk. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and had been intubated since then before the hospital confirmed his death at 7:24 p.m. Thursday.

Lee served as Taiwan’s president from 1988 to 2000, overseeing its transition from martial law dictatorship to a full-fledged democracy.

He was the country’s first native-born president and the first to be elected by popular vote.

Born in 1923, Lee was educated in Taiwan, Japan and the United States and remained an influential figure in politics after his presidency.

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