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

  • Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: The Sydney Skinny, a Glacial Arch, Pelicans at Play

    Skijoring in Montana, a Russian presidential candidate in Moscow, a walkout against gun violence across the U.S., the stark and lonely route of a German volunteer mailman, and more.

  • Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Surfing Norway in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    AFP photographer Olivier Morin recently spent time with surfers above the Arctic Circle on the beaches of Norway’s Lofoten Islands.

  • Andrew Kelly / Reuters

    The Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, in Photos

    Across the United States today, students participated in walkouts to protest gun violence one month after the deadly shooting in a Florida high school.

  • Lee Jin-man / AP

    Photos of the 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Athletes have gathered in Pyeongchang, South Korea, one more time for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.