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Sat, Oct 02, 2010
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Mrs Lee Kuan Yew has passed away
Mrs Lee Kuan Yew has passed away
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Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, wife of Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and mother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, died on Saturday at 5.40 pm, said the Prime Minister's Office in a statement.

She was 89 years old.

Mrs Lee, whose maiden name was Kwa Geok Choo, was born in Dec 1920 to banker Mr Kwa Siew Tee and was one of 8 children.

She graduated from Methodist Girls School in 1936 and also topped the 1936 Senior Cambridge Examination for the whole of Malaya and Singapore.

She was also the only female student in Raffles Institute where she first met Mr Lee. She had apparently caught the attention of Lee Kuan Yew when she gave him unexpectedly stiff competition for a Queen's Scholarship.

Their first date was on Mr Lee's 21st birthday in 1944, during the Japanese Occupation.

She won a Queen's Scholarship to study Law in Cambridge University in 1947 and was secretly married to Mr Lee on December 23 that same year.

She was 27, and he was 24.

She passed her bar exams with First Class Honours two years later in 1949 and returned to Singapore in 1950 where she and Mr Lee Kuan Yew tied the knot again.

She was admitted to the Singapore Bar in 1951, and founded law firm Lee & Lee with her husband and brother-in-law in 1955.

She was quoted as saying: "I walk two steps behind my husband like a good Asian wife" while on a diplomatic trip to Kuala Lumpur in Dec 1976.

Mrs Lee suffered a mild stroke in Oct 25, 2003 while in London on a diplomatic visit with Mr Lee.

She suffered another stroke on May 12, 2008 and was warded in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She suffered another stroke on June 24 that same year.

She is survived by her husband Lee Kuan Yew, her sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang, and daughter Lee Wei Ling.

The wake will be held at Sri Temasek on Monday and Tuesday. Visitors can pay their last respects there from 10am to 5pm.

Members of the public may call 6835 6614 for any queries.

The Sri Temasek is the official residence of the Prime Minister and is located within the Istana grounds.

A private funeral will take place on Wednesday, October 6, at Mandai Crematorium.

Mrs Lee's family has requested that no obituaries, wreaths nor flowers be sent. All donations will go to the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Health Research Endowment Fund.

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