Former South Korean president Choi Kyu-hah dies

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Former South Korean President Choi Kyu-hah died in Seoul on October 22, 2006. He was 87 years old.

Choi was found unconscious in his home by a nurse at 6 a.m. local time (UTC+9) on Sunday morning and was rushed to Seoul National University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead at 7:37 a.m. Doctors said that he died from acute heart failure.

Choi became acting President after then-President Park Chung Hee was assassinated on October 26, 1979. He was officially sworn as the 10th President in December of the same year following a military coup, but resigned that post on August 16, 1980. After his resignation, he refused to discuss the coup in much detail.

Born in Wonju, Gangwon Province, on July 16, 1919, Choi was a graduate in English language and literature from Tokyo Teachers College and worked as a professor at the Teachers College of Seoul National University for a short time after the end of Japanese rule in Korea in 1945. He entered politics in 1946 and served as foreign minister from 1967 to 1975 and prime minister from 1975 to 1979.

Choi was buried in Daejeon National Cemetery after a state funeral. His wife, Hong Gi, died in 2004 but her remains were exhumed from the current burial site in Wonju and buried next to those of her husband.