Did Kim Jong-il Die Like They Said He Did?

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Photo: AFP/2010 AFP

According to the official account, Kim Jong-il died at 8:30am on Saturday morning from a heart attack, while traveling on his private train. This seems, to most of us, like something not worth lying about.

But some experts believe this account is fabricated (which would be thematically appropriate). Here's why.

Exhibit A: On Saturday, the temperature in Pyongyang was -12 degrees Celsius (about 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Kim's doctors would have stopped him from going outdoors.

Exhibit B: The dictator was downright freshman-like in his sleeping habits: he rarely got up before noon. Officially, he died at 8:30am, which means he must have been up for hours already. The Director of Intelligence of South Korea told the National Assembly that there were no signs that Kim's train ever moved out of the station that weekend.

Exhibit C: If Kim died in public, this would have created quite the stir: Kim always traveled with hundreds of people, including bodyguards and medical staff. Everything would have been pandemonium. How could it be kept secret for 50 hours?

But, like any good conspiracy theorist knows, you need a motive for any credibility. They have one. "Death on the train is possibly the best story that the North Korean regime can use to promote Kim as a hardworking leader who worked for the people until the moment he died."

It all fits perfectly: the official report said he died from "a heart attack brought on by mental and physical fatigue."