North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died on Saturday in Pyongyang at the age of 69. Although the Kim Jong-il death was not official announced until Monday, the North Korean supreme leader reportedly died of a heart attack on Saturday during a train trip.
A video message announced the death of Kim Jong-il to the citizens of North Korea on Monday. In the video, a woman wearing traditional dress announces ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il is dead while fighting tears. “It is the biggest loss for the party … and it is our people and nation’s biggest sadness,” she said, according to press translations.
The Korean Central News Agency issued a press release Monday titled “Kim Jong Il Passes Away”s tating that the North Korean leader “pass away from great mental and physical strain” at 8:30AM on Saturday. Another press release stated that Kim Jong Il died from “advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock.”
Kim Jong Il previously suffered a stroke in 2008 and also reportedly suffered from diabetes and heart disease. He had been the subject of several death rumors in the past due to his illnesses and long periods of time out of the public eye. In recent months, however, the North Korean leader had appeared relatively healthy and active.
Citizens on the streets of North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang reportedly knelt on the ground and wailed in grief at the announcement of Kim Jong Il’s death.
“He passed away too suddenly to our profound regret,” said a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. “The heart of Kim Jong Il stopped beating, but his noble and august name and benevolent image will always be remembered by our army and people.”
Kim Jong Il will be succeeded by son Kim Jong-un, who is reportedly in his 20s. The North Korean leader’s eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly fell out of favor with his father after trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001.