North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il Dies

Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died on Saturday at the age of 69, the country’s state television reported on Monday.

Reports said Kim Jong-il suffered a fatal heart attack while riding on a train Saturday morning. The longtime communist leader had been reported ill over the past several months although the real state of his health was never known due to the iron-curtain policy imposed by the hermetic country.

Kim Jong-il had been leader of the communist state since 1994. He took over from his father and the country’s recognized founder, Kim Il-sung. Throughout his reign, Kim Jong-il was portrayed by most countries, especially in the West, as an abusive leader who prioritized building North Korea’s nuclear armament over addressing extreme poverty in the country.

Local media has hailed Kim’s son, Kim Jong-un, as the “Dear Leader’s” “great successor.” Jong-un was introduced as Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent over a year ago, but little is known about the young leader who is reportedly in his late 20s. “All party members, military men and the public should faithfully follow the leadership of comrade Kim Jong-un and protect and further strengthen the unified front of the party, military and the public,” state media said in a statement according to BBC.