Singapore plunged into mourning and world leaders united in tribute Monday after the death of Lee Kuan Yew, the iron-fisted politician who forged a prosperous city state out of unpromising beginnings. His son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loeng, issued a statement before dawn announcing the passing of his 91 year old father at the Singapore General Hospital following a long illness. He declared seven days of national mourning until the former leader is cremated March 29. US President Barack Obama led world leaders in praising Lee, who turned a small territory lacking it’s own natural resources into a world player in finance, trading and shipping. “He was a true giant of history who will be remembered for generations to come as the father of modern Singapore and as one of the great strategists of Asian affairs,” Obama said in a statement. Tributes also came in from international leaders of China, Malaysia, Britain and Japan. Lee was in hospital for nearly seven weeks with severe pneumonia. He served as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, leading Singapore to independence in 1965 after a brief and stormy union with Malaysia.