North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Has Died, State Media Say

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead, according to state media in that communist nation. He was 69.

South Korea’s Yonhap News says that:

“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.

“A female newscaster, clad in a black funeral dress, also announced Kim’s death on state TV.

“The late Kim had been in ill heath after suffering an apparent stroke in 2008.”

As The Associated Press adds:

“The news came as North Korea prepared for a hereditary succession. Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. In September 2010, Kim Jong Il unveiled his third son, the twenty-something Kim Jong Un, as his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.”

The BBC reports that “South Korea says its military has been put on alert following the announcement and its National Security Council is convening for an emergency meeting.”

The Washington Post has a photo gallery on the life of Kim Jong Il posted here.

We’ll have more on the story first thing Monday morning.

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