MANILA, Philippines – North Korean state television announced Monday strongman Kim Jong Il is dead, news agencies reported.
“Dear Leader,” as he is called, died due to “physical and mental overwork,” North Korean state media said, reports the BBC.
South Korea’s Yonhap reports Kim died during a train ride at around 8:30 am Saturday, quoting an urgent dispatch from North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency.
The news was announced by a visibly upset North Korean state television presenter in a noontime broadcast live from Pyongyang.
With the announcement of the North Korean leader’s death, South Korea’s military has declared an emergency alert, and the country convened its national security council, reports Yonhap.
CNBC television, meanwhile, reports the Japanese government will also have an emergency security meeting.
Both South Korean president Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda have cancelled all meetings and appointments to monitor the situation in North Korea.
Kim Jong Il leaves behind an impoverished and isolated nation with one of the world’s largest militaries, still officially at war with its southern neighbor.
Prior to his death, his public appearances have become rarer, believed due to him suffering a stroke in 2008.
Kim Jong Un, his third son, is seen as his successor, after Kim Jong Il appointed him to various high-ranking posts back in September 2010.