The aunt of Kim Jong-un, and the wife of executed Jang Song-thaek, Kim Kyong-hui, 67, is dead according to reports coming from South Korea. She was the sister of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, and the daughter of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She’s Been Missing Since September
She had not been seen since September 10. Reports suggest she may have committed suicide. Her last public appearance was in September at the celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korean, a concert that she attended with her nephew and his wife. Her death had not been suspected until now as her name appeared on a list of officials who were planning a funeral for a different high-ranking member of the regime who died in December.
2. She Had a Heart Condition
She is known to have traveled abroad from North Korea for treatment on her heart condition. In 2011, she went to Moscow for treatment, which was confirmed by the regime. There are unconfirmed reports that she went to Singapore in 2012 for further treatment.
In addition to this, her daughter committed suicide in 2006 which is said to have caused her depression while she also suffered from alcoholism. She was born in 1946.
3. She’s One of the Regime’s Overlords
She has been described as a “leading figure in the North Korean regime.”
4. She Died Just a Week After Her Husband
There are fears that this will cause further instability in the autocratic state. Last week, her husband Jang Song-thaek was executed, reportedly by starving dogs while his nephew watched.
5. Dennis Rodman Arrives in the Country Today…Again
International diplomat Dennis Rodman on his way to North Korea for Kim Jong-un's birthday pic.twitter.com/cGiHnaag21
— Felicity Morse (@FelicityMorse) January 6, 2014
These further developments are breaking on the day when Dennis Rodman travels to North Korea for yet another visit.