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Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong collapses during live televised speech

by August 21, 2016 General

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took ill during the delivery of an annual address to the nation on Sunday evening, pausing and physically stumbling more than halfway through the televised speech.

The live broadcast of his National Day Rally speech was halted and the prime minister was attended to by a medical team.

Lee, 64, had been speaking on and off for more than two hours in multiple languages when he abruptly stopped. Cameras panned toward the crowd watching the speech.

“PM Lee took ill while speaking at the National Day Rally. Medical team is attending to him now. They assess his condition is not serious,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement on Lee’s verified Twitter account.

The rally was suspended. Channel News Asia said Lee was resting and planned to come back to complete his address.

Lee had first delivered shorter speeches in Malay and Chinese, starting around 6:40pm local time. He took a short break an hour later before starting the longer, English-speaking portion of the speech at 8pm, which was due to last two hours. He stopped speaking about 9:15pm.

Lee underwent robot-assisted keyhole surgery in February last year to treat prostate cancer and was given the all clear in May of that year. The diagnosis came more than two decades after he was treated and cleared of lymphoma.

The prime minister, the son of independent Singapore’s founding father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, took over from then premier Goh Chok Tong in 2004.