The Internet on Saturday was abuzz with speculation as speculation spread that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had died. These rumors grew earlier in April after Kim was absent for the Day of the Sun, an important North Korean occasion celebrating Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founder and grandfather of Kim Jong-Un.

As of Wednesday afternoon, state-run media outlets in North Korea have remained quiet on the matter, spending most of Saturday focused on the history of the country’s armed forces. This silence has been consistent over the last few days, as attention grew worldwide that Kim was in grave danger following a botched heart operation. The hashtag #KIMJONGUNDEAD was a trending topic Saturday on Twitter, as was #KimJung, a misspelling of Kim's name.

At this stage, reputable sources have been unable to confirm anything about Kim’s situation beyond the fact that he has been experiencing considerable health problems. Only a handful of overseas sources have made claims about the leader’s state.

Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Gendai reported that Kim is in a vegetative state following an operation to place a stent in his heart. Shukan Gendai also claimed that the operation came after Kim collapsed during a rural visit earlier in April. Elsewhere, a broadcast journalist in Hong Kong went so far as to report that Kim had in fact died. Numerous other outlets have been unable to confirm these reports, which cited anonymous sources thought to be close to the situation.

Reuters, a more trustworthy outlet that nonetheless had to rely on three unnamed sources, confirmed that Chinese medical officials were brought in to check on Kim’s health. The news agency was unable to confirm what this move might mean for Kim's status.

While the reports remain indefinitive, U.S. intelligence officials continue to monitor the status of North Korea’s leader. Speaking with CNN, former CIA division chief for North Korea said that false reports of poor health have been common with Kim and his father, Kim Jong Il. However, the intense secrecy surrounding the nation makes it difficult for foreign powers to confirm such reports quickly.

Should Kim die, it is believed that his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, would succeed him as the leader of North Korea. The youngest daughter of Kim Jong-Il, Kim Yo-Jong reportedly is in her early 30s, currently serves as Vice Director of North Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department and is said to be a confidant for her older brother.

“She is smart, calculating, and who knows how much power she has been able to build working in the shadows?” Bruce Bennett, an expert on North Korea, said in an interview with the Daily Beast.

Kim Jong Un's health is frequently the subject of speculation, but little concrete is known about the secretive leader Kim Jong Un's health is frequently the subject of speculation, but little concrete is known about the secretive leader Photo: KCNA VIA KNS / STR