Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who transformed the South Korean firm into a global tech titan, died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the company said.
But Lee transformed it into a global power - by the time he was left bedridden by a heart attack in 2014, it was the world's biggest maker of smartphones and memory chips.
Lee Kun-Hee is synonymous with the name Samsung in South Korea.
Lee inherited control of the company from his father, and during his almost 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world's largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips.
Samsung noted in its statement Saturday (Sunday local time in Korea) that Lee's "1993 declaration of "New Management" was the motivating driver of the company's vision to deliver the best technology to help advance global society".
But it was seen as a shoddy producer of cheap, low-quality products.
Samsung was ensnared in the 2016-17 corruption scandal that led to then-President Park Geun-hye's impeachment and imprisonment.
But experts say the succession may be riddled with challenges as the younger Lee is facing trial for unfair trading, stock manipulation and breach of trust in relation to a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates in order to consolidate his control of the business.
Samsung said in a statement that Lee passed away with his family by his side, including Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, the senior Lee's only son and an heir apparent.
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South Koreans are both proud of Samsung's global success and concerned the company and Lee family are above the law and influence over nearly every corner of society.
Samsung Life is the biggest shareholder of the group's crown jewel Samsung Electronics, and Lee owns 20.76% of the insurance firm.
The Samsung Electronics chairman who was ailing after a heart attack had been hospitalized since May 2014.
When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control of Samsung from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was taking its first steps toward exporting microwaves and refrigerators.
Lee was born on January 9, 1942, in Daegu about 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Seoul, and was raised in the nearby rural district of Uiryeong, according to the company.
Samsung was founded by Mr Lee's father, Lee Byung-chul, and had originally dealt in dried fish, noodles, and fruit. That puts Samsung, once the leader with the new connectivity, in third place. He was fined 110 billion won ($97.1 million) and received a suspended three-year jail sentence.
Two months later, Samsung Group said it would invest 23 trillion won to expand in areas such as health care and solar batteries by 2020.
He was convicted again in 2008 of tax evasion and embezzlement, but the long-time member of the International Olympic Committee was pardoned to help the country's bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In 1967, Lee Kun-hee married Hong Ra-hee.