By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim Jong-Il has died.
North Korean State TV announced the 69-year-old ruler had died of a heart attack during a train trip on December 17.
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, but analysts say recent trips to China and Russia suggested his health had improved.
The leader, reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine, was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.
South Korean media reported that country’s military had been put on high alert following the news and the cabinet was due to meet in emergency session.
The news comes as the reclusive state begins the process of transferring power to his son Kim Jong-Un, who is believed to be in his late 20s.
Kim Jong-Il inherited power after his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994.
North Korean State TV said his funeral will take place in Pyongyang on December 28.