General News

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il dies

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Dec 19, 2011 | 4:00am EST

Jong-Il passed away on a train while visiting an area outside the capital city of Pyongyang on Saturday (17Dec11) and his death was announced in a "special broadcast" on state-run TV networks on Monday (19Dec11), reports the BBC.

The Communist leader, who suffered diabetes and heart disease, has been in poor health since suffering a stroke in 2008, although his cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Jong-Il took power in the country in 1994 when his father Kim Il Sung died, but became a controversial leader by running a tight regime.

He was widely criticised for alleged human rights abuses and for threatening the stability of the region by pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and testing long-range missiles.

Jong-Il was regularly satirised on animated U.S. comedy South Park, and he was the main villain in the TV hit's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's 2004 movie Team America: World Police.

Following the news of his death, several stars took to their Twitter.com accounts to comment on his passing.

In a post, singer Boy George writes, "Kim Jong Il is gone! A united Korea is this possible? Let's hope so!", while actress and human rights activist Mia Farrow laments, "By most accounts his (equally strange looking) son will bring no change to N Korea."

Music mogul Russell Simmons adds, "Praying for peace and prosperity for the North Korean people after the passing of Kim Jong Il."

Jong-Il's third son, Kim Jong Un, was unveiled as his successor last year (10) although an official announcement about the new leader has yet to be made.

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