Now comes the news that North Korea’s Kim Jong Il (age variously reported as 69 or 70) has died. It’s been rumored for several years that he’d been gravely ill with a stroke and then pancreatic cancer, but his official cause of death was announced as “exhaustion brought on by a sudden illness while on a domestic train trip.”
Who knows? One thing we do know—and have known for years—is that it most likely will be a case of “the Kim Jong is dead, long live the Kim Jong” for the North Korean government, which is expected to feature the succession of Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un, just as the former succeeded his own father in 1994. The people have been so sequestered from the world that it’s hard to know what they think at this point.
[ADDENDUM: Here’s Kim Jong Un’s Wiki entry. Some interesting facts:
Kim is thought to have been born in 1983 or early 1984. He attended the English-language International School of Berne, Switzerland until 1998 under a pseudonym…An older student chaperoned him all the time. In Liebefeld, he told his friend Joao Micaelo that he was the son of the heir to the North Korea leader, though Micaelo said he didn’t believe him at the time. He was described as a shy child who was uncommunicative with unfamiliar people and was only distinguished for his competitive nature, particularly in sports, and a fascination with the NBA and Michael Jordan. Allegedly, one friend claimed that he had met and even had pictures taken with Kobe Bryant and Toni Kukoc, but was unsure where…
His eldest half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, had been the favorite to succeed, but reportedly fell out of favour after 2001, when he was caught attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland…Kim Jong-il’s former personal chef, Kenji Fujimoto, revealed details regarding Kim Jong-un, with whom he shared a good relationship, stating that he is favored to be his father’s successor. Fujimoto also claimed that Jong-un is favored by his father over his elder brother, Kim Jong-chul, reasoning that Jong-chul is too feminine in character, while Jong-un is “exactly like his father.”]