North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is reportedly in “grave danger” following surgery, CNN reported on Monday evening, citing an anonymous U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation.
There have been rumors of the dictator’s declining health in recent days, after he reportedly missed the country’s most important political holiday last week — the birthday celebration of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and founder of the communist tyranny.
NBC’s Katy Tur sparked further speculation after deleting a tweet citing two U.S. officials who purportedly claimed that the authoritarian is “brain dead.”
“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is brain dead, according to two US officials. He recently had cardiac surgery and slipped into a coma, according to one US current and one former US official,” she wrote in the now-deleted tweet:
She later added that she deleted the tweet “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Waiting on more info. Apologies,” she added:
I’ve deleted that last tweet out of an abundance of caution. Waiting on more info. Apologies.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) April 21, 2020
South Korea is reportedly investigating the reports of the tyrant’s condition, but officials from South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service have not been able to confirm the report, according to the AP.
Bloomberg News’s Jennifer Jacobs reported late Monday evening that the Trump administration “received information that Kim Jong Un had heart surgery last week and if he’s alive, his health is poor.”
“It’s unclear to US officials if he’s dead or alive,” she continued.
“Trump administration officials are looking into who would be in the line of succession if Kim Jong Un dies or is already dead, I’m told,” she added:
Trump administration officials are looking into who would be in the line of succession if Kim Jong Un dies or is already dead, I'm told.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 21, 2020
“There have been a number of recent rumors about Kim’s health (smoking, heart, and brain). If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn’t present on the important April 15th celebrations,” said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea.
“But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong-un or his father. We’ll have to wait and see,” he added.
This story is developing.