News of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was delivered early on Monday by a teary-eyed television reporter on state-run TV.
Referred to as the Dear Leader and Our Father, Kim Jong-il died while traveling by train on Saturday. He was 69 and, according to a state-authorized report, died of advanced acute myocardial infarction, i.e. a heart attack.
North Korea is, technically, still in a 51-year state of war with its neighbor South Korea, and Kim's death could bring about instability in a nuclear-armed state. South Korea, according to its Yonhap news agency, has placed its military on alert.
Kim Jong-il is believed to have been born in the Soviet Union in 1941, despite his regime's story that he was born in an anti-Japanese guerrilla camp on Mount Baekdu in northern Korea. He came to power in 1994 on the death of his father, Kim Il-Sung. The state carried out its first ever nuclear test, in 2006, before repeating the test three years later.
The government has proclaimed Kim Jong-il's third son, Kim Jong-un, who is in his late 20s, as the Great Successor.
Check out some photographs of Kim Jong-il ove rthe years: