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Kim Jong Il dies at 69; North Korean leader

Kim Jong Il dies at 69; North Korean leader

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the mercurial strongman who styled himself as a "Dear Leader" while ruling over an impoverished police state, died at 69, according to North Korean state media.

Kim was believed to have suffered from multiple chronic illnesses, but his death — reportedly from a heart attack while traveling by train on Saturday morning — was sudden. He had been grooming a son to succeed him, and his death creates uncertainty about the future direction of a nation with few international friends but a nuclear weapons capability.

His foreign-educated son, Kim Jong Un, who is in his 20s and is seen by most as the next leader, is largely unknown outside...

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