SINGAPORE - Singaporean businessman Raymond King, 44, could not believe his eyes when his friend posted news on Facebook about former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's death in the early hours of Monday morning.
Instead of going clubbing as planned, Mr King decided to head to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where Mr Lee had been hospitalised since Feb 5.
"There have been so many rumours, I just had to see if the news is real. I couldn't believe it," he told The Straits Times.
"I felt I should come as a mark of respect as he's our founding father. Singapore will not be what it is today without him."
Taxi driver Ang Poh Heng, 52, was at SGH when he saw a buzz of activity around an area that the hospital had designated for the public to leave good wishes for Mr Lee.
Mr Ang, whose child is hospitalised at SGH, followed the crowd to the well-wishers' corner. "I'm sad, he's our treasure. Without him there would be no Singapore," he told The Straits Times.
Other Singaporeans flooded social media with tributes and condolences for former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, after waking up early on Monday morning to news of his death at the age of 91.
More than 1,000 people left condolence comments on the Facebook page of Mr Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, within half an hour of the younger Mr Lee posting the news.
The younger Mr Lee also changed his cover photo to a black-and-white picture of his father, with the words "Lee Kuan Yew 1923 - 2015".
In a comment on Mr Lee's page, Mr Sebastian Lim said: "The man who gave us all a better life in Singapore has finally gone to his well-deserved resting place. Like everybody else, I may be stricken with grief but I shall not mourn his loss but instead celebrate his life. He had spent his entire lifetime making sure that all of us would not suffer the impoverished conditions that our forefathers who came here did."
Retiree Lawrence Hee, 68, is a Singaporean who lives in Sydney but is visiting Singapore.
He said: "I heard the news and I came down. He's the last from my father's generation, they were friends. It's a long story. I'm very sad.
"He created Singapore. I just want to pay my respects."
National serviceman Andy Tan, 19, told The Straits Times: "We were playing computer games at home and we saw the news on Facebook. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is quite an important person so we drove down from Hougang."
He arrived with his 19-year-old friend and private school student Ivan Tan.Tan remarked: "It's sad... He's a good role model for us. We can't even begin to describe how much he sacrificed for Singapore, and what he's done for us."
The first people to pay tribute at the Istana were five-year-old Ryan Mackay and his mother, lawyer Sharon Tan, 39. Ryan left a card that he drew which said: "Thank you Mr Lee. God bless you."
The PMO also set up a tribute page at http://www.rememberingleekuanyew.sg where the public can view the milestones of Mr Lee's life and leave their messages.
"While we mourn the passing of one of the greatest leaders of our party, we celebrate his incalculable contributions to Singapore and its people," the PAP said.
The People's Action Party (PAP), of which Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the founding secretary-general, changed its logo to a black-and-white one on Facebook.