Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties (00016.HK), died on Saturday at the age of 68 after spending about two months in a hospital.
The property tycoon, who fell unconscious at his home in Deep Water Bay in late August, had been in a coma since he was moved to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Happy Valley after initially being lodged in the intensive care unit of Ruttonjee Hospital.
It is believed that as Kwok had suffered a stroke and serious cerebral hemorrhage, the team of doctors taking care of him did not operate on him as they deemed that such procedure would not necessarily help him recover consciousness, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Kwok suffered brain stem death and gradual failure of his main organs, including liver and kidneys, before he was declared brain dead at around noon on Saturday and his family agreed to have his life support removed, the paper cited a source as saying.
In a statement, Kwok’s wife Wendy Kwok Lee Ting-wing said her husband passed away peacefully with his family by the bedside.
Church service arrangements would be announced in due course, she said in the statement released on Sunday.
The cause of his death, according to a source, was said to be subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Offering deepest condolences and sympathies to Kwok’s family, relatives and friends, Sun Hung Kai Properties praised its former boss, saying he had not only helped the company grow but also contributed a lot to society and the country.
Walter Kwok had served as Sun Hung Kai chairman and chief executive between 1990 and 2008.
Born in 1950, Kwok, along with his two younger brothers Thomas and Raymond, took control of one of Hong Kong’s largest property developers in 1990 when their father Kwok Tak-seng, the company’s founder, passed away.
In 1997, Walter was kidnapped by notorious gangster Cheung Tsz-keung. He was set free later after the tycoon’s family paid HK$600 million in ransom.
The incident caused him to suffer from depression for a year.
Walter was ousted as chairman and chief executive of SHKP in 2008, amid rumors that his mother was very unhappy about his close female friend allegedly trying to interfere in Sun Hung Kai affairs.
In 2014, Walter started his own property company, Empire Group Holdings, where he spent more than HK$10 billion in acquiring land parcels and developing real estate projects with different developers.
The venture had been quite successful, helping Walter amass an independent fortune. In a Forbes Hong Kong rich list this year, Walter was at the No. 10 spot, with his personal wealth estimated at around US$8.7 billion.
The last time Walter was seen in public was in May, when he attended a roundtable meeting held by the Kwok Scholars Association, which he founded in 2012 with an aim to promote and advance education.
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