North Korea's controversial leader Kim Jong-IL has died at the age of 69, according to reports.
Jong-Il passed away on a train while visiting an area outside the capital city of Pyongyang on Saturday (17Dec11) and his death was announced in a "special broadcast" on state-run TV networks on Monday (19Dec11), reports the Bbc.
The Communist leader, who suffered diabetes and heart disease, has been in poor health since suffering a stroke in 2008, although his cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Jong-Il took power in the country in 1994 when his father Kim Il Sung died, but became a controversial leader by running a tight regime.
He was widely criticised for alleged human rights abuses and for threatening the stability of the region by pursuing a nuclear weapons programme and testing long-range missiles.
Jong-Il was regularly satirised on animated U.S. comedy South Park, and he was the main villain in the TV hit's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's 2004 movie Team America: World Police.
Following the news of his death, several stars took to their Twitter.com accounts to comment on his passing.
In a post, singer Boy George writes, "Kim Jong Il is gone! A united Korea is this possible? Let's hope so!", while actress and human rights activist Mia Farrow laments, "By most accounts his (equally strange looking) son will bring no change to N Korea."
Music mogul Russell Simmons adds, "Praying for peace and prosperity for the North Korean people after the passing of Kim Jong Il."
Jong-Il's third son, Kim Jong Un, was unveiled as his successor last year (10) although an official announcement about the new leader has yet to be made.
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.