Full coverage: Kim Jong Il | 1942-2011

Kim Jong Il | 1942-2011

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the mercurial strongman extolled at home as the "Dear Leader" and reviled abroad as a tyrant, has died at 69. Kim's death was announced by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. ( European Pressphoto Agency )
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Kim Jong Il dies at 69; North Korean leader

Kim Jong Il, 69, defied and baffled the world with his nuclear aims and bizarre actions. His death creates uncertainty about the future direction of the isolated nation.