Kim Jong Il Dead at 69

Celebrity News Dec. 19, 2011 AT 8:40AM
Kim Jong Il Dead at 69 Credit: CHIEN-MIN CHUNG/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has lost its "Dear Leader," despot Kim Jong Il, who passed away Saturday morning at age 69.

The country's state news agency confirmed the news on Monday, noting that the dictator "passed away from great mental and physical strain" while riding a train Saturday morning; a separate news item explained that Kim suffered an "advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock." He reportedly had a stroke in 2008 but appeared healthy in recent trips around the Asian continent.

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As long predicted, the bizarre leader's successor is his little-known, barely seen son Kim Jong-un, who is said to be in his late 20s, and the transfer of power has already begun.

Just past midnight on Monday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama spoke with South Korea's President Lee-Myung-bak; "The President reaffirmed the United States’ strong commitment to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the security of our close ally, the Republic of Korea."

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As the strange and barbaric leader of one of the most isolated and impoverished countries in the world, Kim had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet food -- which led to, reportedly, heart disease and diabetes.

Parodied on 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live and elsewhere, the self-obsessed, sociopathic icon was a well-known film buff with up to 20,000 DVDs in his personal collection, and ran his country's film industry since coming into power in the 90s. His most successful film was Pulgasari, a Godzilla-esque monster film.

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