South Korea’s former dictator dies at the age of 90.

Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, whose iron-fisted rule of the country following a 1979 military coup triggered massive democracy protests, has died at the age of 90, his former press aide said.

Chun, whose health had recently deteriorated, died early in the morning at his Seoul home, according to his press secretary Min Chung-ki. Later in the day, his remains will be taken to a hospital for a funeral.

Chun, a former military commander, presided over the army slaughter of pro-democracy demonstrators in Gwangju in 1980, for which he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to die.
His death came about a month after that of former president and coup comrade Roh Tae-woo, who played a crucial but controversial role in the country’s troubled transition to democracy.
Chun was put on trial after leaving office in 1987, accused of ordering the military crackdown on student protesters in 1980 that left thousands dead.
Chun was born on March 6, 1931, in Yulgok-myeon, a poor farming town in the southeastern county of Hapcheon, when Korea was a Japanese colony.
He joined the military after school, working his way up the ranks until he was made a commander in 1979. Taking charge of the investigation into the assassination of President Park Chung-hee that year, Chun courted key military allies and gained control of South Korea’s intelligence agencies to lead a December 12 coup.
Chun’s eight years in the presidential Blue House were marked by brutality and political persecution, despite the country’s growing economic prosperity.
In 1987, Chun resigned from the government in response to statewide student-led campaign for democracy.
He was charged with mutiny and treason in 1995, and he was apprehended after escaping to his hometown after refusing to appear at the prosecutor’s office.
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