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N. Korean leader dies at age 69
SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who ruled the communist nation with an iron fist while pursuing nuclear weapons programs, has died, state media said Monday. He was 69.

   Kim, who took over North Korea after his father and national founder Kim Il-sung died in 1994, "passed away from a great mental and physical strain" during a train ride at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Korean Central News Agency said in an urgent dispatch.

   A female newscaster, clad in a black funeral dress, also announced Kim's death on state TV.

   The late Kim had been in ill heath after suffering an apparent stroke in 2008.

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