North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has died at age 69.

The mysterious, often erratic leader of the north, which has maintained a perpetual state of still war with the south, was believed to be in ill health for a number of years, though accurate reports are all but impossible to obtain in the closed state. He was believed to also have suffered a stroke in 2008. He was also believed to suffer from heart disease and diabetes.

Kim Jong Il took power after his father, Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. The third generation of rulers, Kim Jong Un, will likely take power in the wake of his father’s death.

South Korea’s military went on alert as soon as the news broke, as tensions have been high between the countries for years.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at guilfoil.j@blastmagazine.com. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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