N. Korean leader dies at 69 after decades of iron-fist rule
The late leader had been grooming his youngest son as his successor, promoting him to the rank of four-star general and placing him in key posts at the ruling Workers Party.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who ruled the communist nation with an iron fist while pursuing nuclear weapons programs, has died, state media said Monday. He was 69.
Kim, who took over North Korea after his father and national founder Kim Il-sung died in 1994, "passed away from a great mental and physical strain" during a train ride at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Korean Central News Agency said in an urgent dispatch.
KCNA later said the medical cause was a heart attack, the same ailment that killed his father.
A female newscaster, clad in a black funeral dress, tearfully announced Kim's death on state TV.
"He suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated by serious heart shock, on a train on December 17 … from a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation," KCNA said.
The late Kim's health is believed to have worsened after he suffered an apparent stroke in 2008.