Kim Jong Il, 1942-2011

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.]

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • John Moore / Getty

    On the Border With the Photographer John Moore

    A collection of images from the southern U.S. border by the Getty Images photographer John Moore, showing the landscape, those who patrol the border, and those who choose to risk everything to cross it.

  • Mike Blake / Reuters

    Photos: A Tent City for Detained Children in Texas

    Inside a port of entry facility in Tornillo, Texas, temporary housing has been built for the newly overflowing population of unaccompanied minors and the children of detained migrant parents, under the new “zero-tolerance” policy.

  • Dolores Ochoa / AP

    Photos of the Week: World Cup, Skinny-Dippers, Urban Shepherd

    A wee Welsh bunny, Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Indonesia, a skyscraper-scaling raccoon in Minnesota, a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, and much more.

  • Michael Buholzer / Reuters

    Photos: Soccer Fields Around the World

    A look at the beautiful game in action in some small and unusual venues around the world.