Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, the spiritual anchor of Korea's Catholics, died Monday evening at Gangnam St. Mary's Hospital. He was 87.
Kim had been in hospital since August and recently lost the ability to speak. He refused life support and expressed a wish to donate his organs to science.
The archdiocese of Seoul is preparing his funeral mass at Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral in Seoul, where he will lie in state.
Born in Daegu in May 1922, Kim was ordained in 1951. He was named the first bishop of Masan in 1969 and later promoted to the archbishopric, later becoming archbishop of Seoul. Pope Paul VI ordained him Korea's first cardinal. He stepped down from the archbishopric at the age of 75 in 1998.
He was revered for his struggle for human rights during Korea's military governments.