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North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il Dies at 69

18 Dec

North Korea’s enigmatic and bizarre “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-Il has died of “physical fatigue” while riding a train, North Korean news agencies report. Kim was riding a train around 8:30 a.m. Saturday when he suffered a “severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack.”

Kim ruled North Korea with an iron fist since his father and the nation’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, died in 1994. Though hampered by a stroke in 2008, Kim continued to rule the country.

State officials announced a period of mourning that will last until December 29. The Supreme Leader’s funeral will take place December 28.

North Korea suffered from crippling famine and nonexistent economic development. For reminders about the brutality and suffering under Kim Jong-Il look no further than:

Political control now passes to Kim Jong-Il’s son, Kim Jong-un. The New York Times profiled Kim Jong-Il’s third son earlier this fall. He apparently loves NBA basketball and attended school in Europe. Live coverage of Kim’s death here.

Here’s Kim in happier times. The United States and North Korea announced a major deal less than a day before Kim’s death was announced.

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