In a “special broadcast” Monday from the North Korean capital, state media said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a “great mental and physical strain” on Dec. 17 during a “high intensity field inspection.” It said an autopsy was done on Dec. 18 and “fully confirmed” the diagnosis.
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, but he had appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media. The communist country’s “Dear Leader” — reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine — was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.
“It is the biggest loss for the party … and it is our people and nation’s biggest sadness,” an anchorwoman clad in black Korean traditional dress said in a voice choked with tears. She said the nation must “change our sadness to strength and overcome our difficulties.”
South Korean media, including Yonhap news agency, said South Korea put its military on “high alert” and President Lee Myung-bak convened a national security council meeting after the news of Kim’s death. Officials couldn’t immediately confirm the reports.
The KCNA report of Kim’s death:
Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, passed away from a great mental and physical strain at 08:30 December 17, 2011, on train during a field guidance tour.
The WPK Central Committee and Central Military Commission, DPRK National Defence Commission, Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Cabinet released a notice on Saturday informing the WPK members, servicepersons and all other people of his passing away.
KCNA on why Kim died:
Leader Kim Jong Il had received medical treatment for his cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases for a long period.
He suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock, on train on December 17, Juche 100 (2011) for a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.
Every possible first-aid measure was taken immediately but he passed away at 08:30 on December 17.
An autopsy on December 18 fully confirmed the diagnosis of his diseases.
As recently as Dec 15, two days before his death, Kim was still busy at work, giving “field guidance” to a music centre, according to the KCNA.
The announcement on North Korean state television, as seen via South Korea’s KBS World:
Report from The Associated Press:
Report from Al-Jazeera:
Report from ChannelNewsAsia: