General Choi Hong Hi died of stomach cancer on June 15, 2002.
General Choi promoted only fourmasters to 9th degree black belt. He promoted the Korean Rhee Ki Ha to 9th degree black belt on July 1, 1997; Rhee was one of the most important masters of original ITF and a close friend of Choi. On December 8, 1997, Choi promoted the Korean Wnag Kwang Sung to 9th degree black belt. On May 01, 2001, Choi promoted the Korean Park Jong Soo to 9th degree black belt. All these Koreans had been in Taekwondo over 45 years. On December 9, 1997, Choi promoted an American, Chuck Sereff to 9th degree black belt.
Choi Jung Hwa, General Choi's son, was born on Cheju Island, and he received his first training at 5 years of age from General Choi himself. From 7 years old, Choi Jung Hwa was trained by the top military Taekwondo masters, for example the legendary Han Cha Kyo and also by Master Kong Yon Il. Hwa was promoted to 8th degree black belt by General Choi on May 11, 1996 in the original ITF.
General Choi may have over exaggerated his part in "founding" Taekwondo, but his work through the ITF certainly did much to make Taekwondo a Korean martial art that is freely practiced around the world, while the WTF made it a Korean martial art that is permitted to be used around the world but only under the strict control of Koreans in Korea. Those who criticize General Choi's political views and his battle with the KTA during the 1960's tend to overlook all the controversy and shame the leadership of the KTA and WTF has bought to Taekwondo worldwide in the 2000's.