Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment.
The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public.
The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation.
Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking milk. He was diagnosed with pulmonary infiltration and has since been intubated.
The hospital has been tight-lipped about Lee’s condition, but speculation has been rife that his health has deteriorated over the past few months.
A source inside the hospital told the Central News Agency that Lee’s health has been unstable for a long time, and that his condition could change for the worse at any time.
Lee’s condition has become more unstable recently, the source said, adding that medical personnel are providing the care necessary to keep his condition in check.
Before the hospital issued its statement, the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which Lee founded, dismissed rumors of Lee’s death in a Facebook post.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President William Lai (賴清德) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) visited Lee yesterday morning.
Born under Japanese colonial rule, Lee was educated in Japan and the US, and cultivated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to succeed former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Later in life, he became a prominent advocate for Taiwanese identity and statehood, founding the TSU.
In 2001, Lee was expelled from the KMT for stumping for a TSU legislative candidate and lending support to the Democratic Progressive Party.
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