The leadership of North Korea appeared to pass to a third generation of the Kim family Monday after the weekend death of Kim Jong Il, who ruled the reclusive Stalinist state since 1994.
The man known as the "dear leader" died of a heart attack Saturday at age 69, state news outlets announced Monday. The ruling Worker's Party declared the youngest of his three sons, Kim Jong Un, the "great successor" to his father's mantle.
The news of his death spurred South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North more than five decades after their 1950-53 conflict, to put its military on high alert. But across one of the world's most heavily fortified borders, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told his citizens "to go about their lives" in the meantime.
On North Korea's state television network, a tearful anchor broke the news Monday morning. The news was followed by scenes of similarly emotional residents of the capital Pyongyang.
The network said Kim died of "overwork" while "dedicating his life to the people." And the official news agency KCNA said Kim suffered "great mental and physical strain" while on a train.