North Korean officials have announced that their "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il died on Saturday at the age of 69. The announcement was made on North Korean state television on Monday morning. (Video of the announcement via BBC.)
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Kim was believed to have been ill in recent years and possibly suffered a stroke in 2008, though the state media says that he died of "fatigue" while on a train trip.
There was no official succession plan in place in North Korea, but reports are that the government has asked North Koreans to follow his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un. Though Jong-Un has been given a rank equivalent to that of a four-star general (and the honorific title of "Brilliant Comrade") he is only 27 years old, leading some to question whether he will really be in charge of the country or at the mercy of political advisers. Even his exact is not known with certainty.
South Korean officials have placed their military on emergency alert following the announcement, as the uncertainty about the situation in the North will obviously have them on edge. (North Korea still has the fourth-largest standing army in the world and a unknown number of possible nuclear weapons.) Japanese officials are also holding a security meeting and will also likely be on a alert for the next several days.