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Former Rep. Hong Sa-duk dies at 77

The memorial altar for former Rep. Hong Sa-duk is set up Thursday at Seoul National University Hospital, where his funeral is going to be held on Saturday. (Yonhap)
The memorial altar for former Rep. Hong Sa-duk is set up Thursday at Seoul National University Hospital, where his funeral is going to be held on Saturday. (Yonhap)
Hong Sa-duk, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, died Wednesday at the age of 77. He had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia.

The veteran politician was a six-term lawmaker, deputy National Assembly speaker and a Cabinet minister. Hong started his politics career in 1981 by winning a seat in the National Assembly, served six terms until 2012 with both liberal and conservative parties, during which he held the title of deputy Assembly speaker for a year from June 2000.

Hong was a spokesperson for former liberal President Kim Dae-jung during the presidential election in 1992, but switched sides and joined the conservative Kim Young-sam administration as a minister of political affairs in 1997.

Since then he stayed with the conservative faction and was known as a loyal supporter of the impeached President Park Geun-hye.

After failing to be elected for the 19th parliament in 2012, Hong served in various positions outside of partisan politics including stints as an advisor at telecom company KT and the head of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation.

He is survived by wife and three children. A memorial altar was set up at Seoul National University Hospital, where the funeral ceremoney will be held Saturday.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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