Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), seen in 1969.
Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), seen in 1969.Michael Stroud—Getty Images
Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), seen in 1969.
The General Secretary of People's Action Party of Singapore and the new Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew congratulated by his supporters in 1959.
Prime Minister Kuan Yew Lee in conference with Labor leaders during strike threat in 1965.
Prime Minister Kuan Yew Lee and family at official residence of "Sri Tamasek" in 1965.
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at home with his family playing Chinese chess in 1965.
Lee Kuan Yew in 1965.
Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew during May Day celebration in 1965.
Sir Alec Douglas Home, former British Prime Minister meets with Lee Kuan Yew, in London, 1969.
Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference at Marlborough House, London, in 1966.
Premier Lee Kuan Yew with visiting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985.
Lee Kuan Yew with President Obama in the Oval Office in 2009.
Lee Kuan Yew in 2005.
Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), seen in 1969.
Michael Stroud—Getty Images
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See 'Father of Singapore' Lee Kuan Yew's Life in Pictures

Mar 22, 2015

Few leaders can claim as great an influence on a country as Lee Kuan Yew can on Singapore. The 91-year-old is considered the founding father of the small Southeast Asian nation, having led it from a colonial trading post into a regional and global financial powerhouse.

Born in Singapore in September 1923, Lee graduated with a law degree from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, but returned to his native country in 1950 despite being admitted to the English bar. He became Singapore's first Prime Minister in 1959, a position he held until 1990 — making him the longest-serving Prime Minister in global history.

During that time, he guided the country out of British colonial rule and through a union with Malaysia, which Singapore broke away from in 1965, to become fully independent.

Lee became Minister Mentor of Singapore in 2004, a position created by his eldest son, third and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Here's a look at Lee Kuan Yew's life, in pictures.

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