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(LEAD) Ex-President Kim Dae-jung's widow dies at 96

All Headlines 00:34 June 11, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, died Monday at the age of 96, aides said.

Lee had been hospitalized at a Seoul hospital while battling liver cancer.

"First lady Lee passed today," an official at the Kim Dae Jung Peace Center told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

This file photo shows former first lady Lee Hee-ho. (Yonhap)

Lee served as chair of the Kim Dae Jung Peace Center, which was founded by her husband to promote inter-Korean reconciliation and world peace, and fight global poverty.

The former president, who served from 1998 to 2003, is known for his "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea. He died in 2009.

Lee accompanied her husband to Pyongyang in 2000 for the historic first inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

Lee had been hospitalized since March. Her condition sharply worsened Saturday, but had somewhat stabilized since, according to her aides.

In April, Kim Hong-il, a former lawmaker and the eldest son of the couple, died at 71.

Lee was not informed of his death at that time as her aides were worried about her health.
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