published Sunday, December 18th, 2011

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died

  • photo
    Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SEOUL, South Korea — Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69.

Kim’s death was announced Monday by the state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but 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 leader, reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine, was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.

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