The leadership of North Korea appeared to pass to a third generation of the Kim family Monday after the weekend death of Kim Jong Il, who ruled the reclusive Stalinist state since 1994.
The man known as the “dear leader” died of a heart attack Saturday at age 69, state news outlets announced Monday. The ruling Worker’s Party declared the youngest of his three sons, Kim Jong Un, the “great successor” to his father’s mantle.
Kim, according to the official account, died of a “severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack.”
He experienced another stroke back in 2008 but appeared relatively energetic during his recent trips to China and Russia.
Recent footage released shows people mourning the former leader’s death.
The demise of the enigmatic leader sent shockwaves across South Korea, putting the government in emergency mode. Kim, who was tapped as heir in 1974, took the helm of the communist state upon the death of his father and national founder Kim Il-sung in 1994.
During a phone conversation, the leader of South Korea Lee Myung-bak and the US President Barack Obama agreed on close national security coordination following Kim’s death.