North Korea's Central News Agency announced on Monday, Dec. 19 that its leader, Kim Jong Il had died Saturday, Dec. 17 due to "great mental and physical strain."
- The reclusive leader, who heads the nuclear-capable state, had a history of heart problem. He died of "advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock," according to news reports.
- The news came late night in the West, but it only took a few minutes to ignite a barrage of updates online.
- Only last Thursday, Kim made a public appearance indicating that he was not ill, and that his death was unexpected.
- Reactions from netizens were also swift.
- With North and South Korea still in a military deadlock after more than five decades, Kim's death is being closely monitored in the U.S. and in South Korea. Given North Korea's nuclear capability and military presence, the stakes are high