SINGAPORE: Veteran Singaporean journalist Seah Chiang Nee died aged 76 at the Singapore General Hospital on Saturday (Jan 14), his wife Patricia Wong said.
He had been hospitalised since July when he was admitted for shingles and diarrhoea, according to his wife who was quoted in The Star newspaper where he was a columnist.
Seah made headlines in 1985 when he became the first Southeast Asian to undergo a heart transplant. He received the heart of a 17-year-old Australian boy in Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital in a five-and-a-half hour operation and was one of the world's longest-surviving heart transplant patients.
"Based on his record, he should be one of the longest-surviving in the world," said Kenneth Ng, a cardiologist at the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore.
"The median survival rate for heart transplant is only 10 years ... so it is definitely on the high end."
In an interview with AFP in 2005, 20 years after the operation, Seah said he would have been content to live for four or five years after the transplant. He said he had never imagined he would be able to welcome the new millennium. "Twenty years is a long, long time and I'm already very grateful," he said then.
Seah began his career in 1960 as a Reuters correspondent based in Singapore. During his 10 years with the international news agency, he was posted to Vietnam for more than three years to cover the war.
He went on to work with several newspapers, including The Straits Times and the Hong Kong Standard.
Seah's funeral will be on Jan 19. He is survived by his wife and their only son.