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Kim Jong Il, 1942-2011

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Early this morning, North Korean state television reported the death of North Korea's longtime ruler Kim Jong Il. Kim reportedly died two days earlier, on Saturday, December 17, 2011, suffering a heart attack while riding on a train outside Pyongyang. The 69-year-old had been North Korea's "supreme leader" since 1994, after succeeding his father, Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist state. Kim Jong Il presided over a long-suffering, isolated nation, antagonized the western world, indulged himself while millions starved, and funneled much of the country's meager funds into military spending and the pursuit of nuclear weapons. His nominal successor, son Kim Jong Un, remains untested and the sudden power vacuum in such an unpredictable nation has neighbors, allies, and enemies on edge. Collected here are images from the life and times of North Korea's Kim Jong Il, and a few recent images from the reclusive country and those who have noted his passing. [See also Inside North Korea from August, 2011.] [36 photos]

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In this April 25, 2002 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong Il salutes the people at the military parade by the Worker and Peasant Red Guard that celebrates the 90th anniversary of leader Kim Il Sung and the 70th anniversary of the North Korean People's Army. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images)
In this April 25, 2002 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong Il salutes the people at the military parade by the Worker and Peasant Red Guard that celebrates the 90th anniversary of leader Kim Il Sung and the 70th anniversary of the North Korean People's Army. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images)
A young Kim Jong Il, left, takes part in a souvenir picture during his childhood with his parents, Kim Jong Suk, right, and leader Kim Il Sung. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service) #
In this 1963 photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong Il (left) poses for a souvenir picture with leader Kim Il Sung and his sister, Kim Kyong Hui. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
Kim Jong Il talks with North Korean farmers on May 21, 1971. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, working in his office in an undated photo. (AFP/Getty Images) #
Kim Jong Il takes a test drive of an amusement park combat plane ride in Taesong amusement park, in Pyongyang, North Korea on October 2, 1977. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
In this undated photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong Il leads the firearms training of the February 2nd National Sport Defense team members when he was working at the Central Committee of WPK (Worker's Party of Korea). (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
Kim Jong Il gives advice during the filming of "An Jung Geun Avenges Hirobumi Ito," a narrative film, in March of 1979. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
In this photo from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Il Sung (right) and son Kim Jong Il observe a miniature (relief map) of Changgwang Street in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
In this image made from 1980 file television footage, Kim Jong Il applauds while attending the Workers' Party of Korea convention, in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/APTN) #
Leader Kim Il Sung and son Kim Jong Il visit the Sonsan soccer stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 1989. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, receives a scarf from a youngster as he and military officials visit a school for orphans in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, on January 1, 1997. (AP Photo/Korean News Service) #
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, during their meeting in Moscow, Saturday, August 4, 2001. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS/ Presidential Press Service) #
This picture recieved from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 3, 2010 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visiting the Hamhung Disabled Soldiers' Essential Plastic Goods Factory. Hundreds of photos of Kim giving "field guidance" on official visits to factories, farms, construction projects and schools have been released by the KCNA over the past decade. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) #
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyonggyang, North Korea, on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service) #
In this Friday October 8, 2010 photo released by Korean Central News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il listens to a song sung by family members of an artist who just moved into a newly built residential building in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service) #
North Koreans flip colored cards in the seats of the May Day stadium in Pyongyang to create their nation's flag during a performance on August 24, 2011. North Korea's huge synchronized dance and gymnastics show, called "Arirang", includes up to 100,000 participants according to organizers. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, right, looks toward his son Kim Jong Un, while attending a massive military parade to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on October 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File) #
One of the last photos of Kim Jong Il released before his death. Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, left, met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea, on October 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Yao Dawei) #
Kim Jong-un (center), son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (not pictured) visits Mokran Video Company in Pyongyang in this undated picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency on September 11, 2011. (Reuters/KCNA) #
On December 19, 2011, a tearful announcer dressed in black announces the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on North Korean State Television, in this still image from video. (Reuters/KRT via Reuters TV) #
South Koreans read extras reporting the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, December 19, 2011. The headline reads "The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
Pyongyang residents react as they mourn over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
Pyongyang residents mourn over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
Pyongyang residents gather in front of a statue of former North Korean President Kim Il-sung as they mourn the death of his son Kim Jong Il at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
Pyongyang residents are overcome as they mourn the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, in this photo taken by Kyodo on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
A girl cries as she mourns the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang in this December 19, 2011 still image taken from video. (Reuters/KCNA via Reuters TV) #
A North Korean woman holding flowers walks through a fence to enter the North Korean embassy to mourn the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Beijing, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Jason Lee) #
In Los Angeles, California, Korean immigrant Steve Park, 57, points to a photo of Kim Jong Il printed on a newspaper while talking to his friend at a McDonald's restaurant, on December 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #
A South Korean man gestures toward a picture of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as he reads the reports of his death on the newspaper company's display board in Seoul, South Korea, on December 19, 2011. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
A South Korean Army soldier uses binoculars to watch Northern side after news reporting about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at a guard post in the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea in Goseong, South Korea, on December 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Korea) #
A North Korean man shovels snow in a parking lot on December 9, 2011, in Pyongyang, after overnight snow fell on the North Korean capital. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A North Korean waitress works inside a restaurant with nature scenes printed on the room's wall paper in Pyongyang, North Korea, on December 8, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korean farmers work in a field along a highway outside the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, North Korea, on October 8, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korean commuters look out of the rear window of a trolley car in Pyongyang, North Korea, on October 24, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
The sky turns shades of purple over the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, which remains under construction, as the sun sets over Pyongyang, North Korea, on October 24, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

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