SEOUL, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Former South Korean President Kim Young-sam, who played a major role in transferring the country's government from a military dictatorship to a democracy, died early Sunday, according to officials at Seoul National University Hospital.
Before he died, Kim was being treated for a severe blood infection and acute heart failure, USA Today reported.
Kim was elected to the South Korean National Assembly in 1954, quickly aligned with the opposition party that had been working to rewrite the country's constitution. He was punished by the country's ruling regime at the time, and was expelled from the National Assembly for "anti-government activities" in 1979, according to the Korea Herald.
In the 1980s, he was also placed under house arrest twice for his activism, during which is staged a 23-day hunger strike to protest the government's oppressive actions.
Sam spent decades fighting against South Korea's military rulers and helped the country have its first peaceful transfer of power since the 1950s, and later won the presidency in his second campaign for the job in 1993. He served as president until 1998.