Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, has died suddenly after falling ill at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, according to Selangor State Criminal Investigations Department Chief Fadzil Ahmat. The results of a post-mortem investigation have yet to be released. According to South Korean media, Kim Jong Nam was in his 40s.
Kim Jong Nam (above, right) was the eldest son of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il (above, left). He reportedly fell out of favor with his father after being arrested for attempting to visit Tokyo Disneyland in 2001. Though he was never formerly exiled, after the scandal he spent most of his time living in Macau and China. According to Yoji Gomi, author of My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me (via CNN), Kim Jong Nam spoke out against his father’s military policies, and did not believe his youngest brother Kim Jong Un would succeed as a leader. Interestingly, Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Nam have never actually met, due to an old practice of raising potential successors separately.
Kim Jong Nam’s unexpected death comes days after North Korea launched their first missile test the year, and weeks after Kim Jong Un fired his top lieutenant.