Kim Jong Il Dies At 69

North Korean leader, 69-year-old Kim Jong Il has died of a heart attack.

According to SFGate.com, The Associated Press reported that Kim’s death was announced today from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

NPR.org confirmed that Kim died because of “a ‘great mental and physical strain’ during a ‘high intensity field inspection’ Saturday.”

AP reported that the North Korean leader, referred to by the isolated country as “Dear Leader,” came into power in 1994, following the death of his father, Kim Il Sung — founder of the communist state.

CNN.com reported that while Kim is criticized for his repressive tactics and ruthless tyranny by most-other countries, he is admired and well regarded in his country. Han S. Park, director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia, said, “The level of reverence for Kim Jong Il in North Korea is quite underestimated by the outside.”

“He is regarded by many as not only a superior leader but a decent person, a man of high morality. Whether that’s accurate is not important if you want to deal with North Korea. You have to understand their belief system. Perception is reality,” Park told CNN.com.

According to BBC.co.uk, Kim’s successor is understood to be his third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un.