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North Korea says its leader Kim Jong-il has died.

This is breaking so more information is forthcoming.

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.

H/t to Korkenzieher:

The announcer, wearing black, said he had died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work.The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul says his death will cause huge shock waves across North Korea.Kim Jong-il has been the leader of the impoverished communist country since the death of his father Kim Il-sung in 1994.

7:25 PM PT: Twitter reports South Korea has gone into high military alert.

Need I remind you the the U.S. has maintained the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) there since 1953.

State TValso announced that Kim Jong Eun will take over as leader.

9:00 PM PT: Whitehouse Statement:


THE WHITE HOSUE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 18, 2011

Statement by the Press Secretary on reports of the death of Kim Jong Il

We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.



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