North Korea has announced that the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong Il has died.
Kim was 69 years old and had ruled North Korea for 17 years. He came to power in 1994 on the death of his father Kim Il Sung, who had ruled the country since its founding in 1948. The report of the younger Kim’s death came via a noontime report on state television in North Korea.
The North Korea TV announcer said that Kim died “of fatigue during a train ride on Saturday”, which sounds like one of the ways the deaths of dictators in extremely repressive regimes are often described. That’s not meant to be cheeky. But that sounds like one of the semi-preposterous causes of death that are often given when the nature of the regime doesn’t allow for any actual discussion of the leader’s health.
I’m not sure you can die from ‘fatigue’. You can die while you’re suffering from fatigue. But I’m not sure you can die from fatigue.
Late Update: Here, for a taste of the bizarre, is the English language version of the North Korean state news agency.
Later Update: The cause of death appears to be a heart attack. From the North Korean state news agency: “[Kim] suffered an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock, on train on December 17, Juche 100 (2011) for a great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour for the building of a thriving nation.”