Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader who has led the communist regime since 1994, has died. He was 69.
Dead: Kim Jong Il, who became North Korea's leader in 1994, was 69 years old
Kim's death was announced tonight by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
In a 'special broadcast' today, North Korea's state media said Kim died of a heart ailment on a train due to a 'great mental and physical strain' on Saturday during a 'high intensity field inspection.'
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media.
The South Korean military declared an emergency alert minutes after news of his death went public.