Statement by Secretary Kerry: Death of Lee Kuan Yew

When Lee Kuan Yew became its first Prime Minister in 1959, Singapore was a newly independent nation with an uncertain future.  By the time he left office 31 years later, the small island had been transformed into one of the most prosperous and dynamic countries in the world.

Lee Kuan Yew exuded wisdom.  The counsel I was fortunate to glean from conversations with him–about life and politics and global affairs–is among the most valuable and insightful I have received. He was, of course, a uniquely astute analyst and observer of Asia, and it is largely through his life’s work that Singapore became one of the United States’ strongest strategic partners in the region.

Teresa and I join so many around the world in offering our deepest condolences to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who has so ably carried on his father’s legacy, to the entire Lee family, and to the people of Singapore, who Lee Kuan Yew always knew were his nation’s greatest resource. May he rest in peace.