Seoul: The founder of South Korean steel giant Posco has died. Park Tae-joon was 84.

Yonsei University's Severance Hospital said Park died on Tuesday of respiratory failure. He was hospitalized about a week ago.

Hospital officials say Park underwent surgery on his lung in 2002 but never fully recovered.

Posco's business rise symbolized South Korea's economic success over the decades.

Park founded the company in 1968. The Pohang, South Korea-based steelmaker is credited with boosting the country's transformation from the ashes of war into an Asian economic powerhouse.

Park briefly served as South Korea's prime minister in 2000. He has been Posco's honorary chairman since 2002.