KIM Jong-un remains missing as speculation mounts about his health – but experts have said even if he is alive he may not have long left.
Rumours rage that the North Korean leader is either dead, gravely ill or hiding out at his private villa in Wonsan as he hasn’t been seen since April 11.
North Korea’s dictator may rule over the most oppressive regime in the world with more than a million soldiers and nuclear weapons at his fingertips, but that far from makes him invincible.
Constantly smoking, guzzling alcohol, indulging in the finest foods, a family history of heart disease, and potentially suffering a neurological condition – Kim is not thought to be a well man.
Experts believe even if Kim is alive amid the latest rumours, it is unlikely he will live a full life due to his decadent and excessive lifestyle – which may even put him at risk of coronavirus.
In a commentary, experts at North Korea watchers 38North said: “ The risk of [Kim's health] becoming a problem still looms unless he makes serious changes to his physical condition and lifestyle.”
It might be a good idea of Kim to start taking it easy as both his dad Kim Jong-il and granddad Kim Il-sung succumbed to heart attacks, aged 69 and 82.
And Kim Jong-il also suffered a devastating stroke just three years before his death in 2011.
Kim's lifestyle choices even came up when his wife Ri Sol-ju candidly revealed she had begged him to stop smoking during a meeting with South Korea in April 2018.
It is speculated as well he may also be suffering from focal dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements in his hand.
Kim seemingly is aware of his apparent poor health, and reportedly has a dedicated team of doctors working for him at a Hyang San Hospital.
The medics are reported to have the very best training, access to imported medical equipment, are specialists in heart problems and are constantly on standby for Kim.
And he is understood to have had bouts of sickness before, including a high profile disappearance in 2014 where he vanished for 20 days before returning with a limp.
Kim is estimated to weigh up to 20 stone while he stands just 5ft6ins tall – potentially giving him a BMI of 44.9.
Pictures show that while Kim has never been slim, he has ballooned in size since he first appeared on the world’s stage back in 2010.
He reportedly is a prolific binge eater with a poor diet who is theorised to suffer health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and gout.
The North Korean leader reportedly likes to indulge in cheese, beef and expensive treats such as caviar and lobster in a life of excess.
A study by Johns Hopkins University found severe obesity was linked to a fourfold increase in heart failure – putting Kim at risk.
The Kim family’s ex-sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto told the now infamous story that the dictator once boasted he had sunk ten bottles of red wine in a night.
Various reports have stated that Kim loves a drink – including that he has even drunkenly berated his generals and may have been boozed up when he ordered the execution of two officials in 2013.
He is claimed to have drunk up to £144,000 worth of expensive alcohol while being wined and dined in China during his trip back in 2018.
Mr Fujimoto also claimed Kim would routinely drink two bottles of wine or champagne with dinner.
Alcohol increases the risk of heart disease and strokes – both of which are in Kim's family history – while also leading to liver disease and various cancers.
Kim is often seen with a cigarette in his mouth as he goes on carefully choreographed visits for North Korea's state media.
He is believed to have smoked heavily since he was a teen.
North Korea’s dictator was even caught having a cheeky fag while his private armoured train stopped during his trip to China in 2018.
And that same year, during a meeting with South Korean officials, his wife said: “I always ask him to quit smoking. But he won’t listen to me.”
His dad and granddad also both smoked – and North Korea is believed to have a large culture around tobacco, with up to 45 per cent of men enjoying a daily cigarette.
Smoking damages both the heart and lungs, and it may be another major factor contributing to Kim’s reported need for heart surgery – claimed to have gone under the knife on April 12 in a potentially botched operation.
Kim doesn’t appear to be taking health lessons from his dad or granddad, with both men being similarly overweight and both dying of heart attacks.
North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung is believed to have suffered a heart attack in Hyangsan – the location of the Kims private hospital which was built after his death – and died on July 8, 1994.
His son Kim Jong-il reportedly suffered a massive heart attack while travelling by train out of Pyongyang on December 17, 2011.
Kim appeared tearful as he walked alongside his dad’s coffin during his colossal state funeral on December 28.
But the danger doesn’t seem to have sunk in, with many cardiac disorders possible to be passed down through families.
North Korea watchers 38North reported that Kim appears to have symptoms of focal dystonia, a neurological disease that causes involuntary muscle movements.
While the condition would not impact his health long term, it leads to uncontrollable cramps, spasms, tremors and your body being twisted into unusual conditions.
The experts wrote: “This would help explain the frequent odd posturing of his left hand when sitting.”
Pictures do often show Kim’s hands in slightly unusual positions, and he is prone to wear gloves even when those around him are not.
Dystonia can be caused by a problem with the part of the brain, Parkinson's disease, a stroke or an inherited genetic condition.
One of the leading theories of Kim’s current whereabouts is that he is hiding out in Wonsan as he fears the coronavirus.
Reports have stated a number of close aides may have contracted Covid-19, prompting him to leave Pyongyang for the seaside city – despite North Korea insisting there are zero cases within its borders.
Kim however may be right to be scared of contracting the coronavirus however, as he qualifies for a number of the at risk factors.
Obese people hospitalised with Covid-19 are almost ten times more likely to die than slimmer patients, according to a leading NHS doctor.
The World Health Organisation also said smoking can increase the risk of coronavirus due to reduced lung capacity.
Chinese journalist Shijian Xingzou said a “very solid source” told her the North Korean leader had died.
She has 15 million followers on Chinese social media site Weibo, and she is also the niece of one of the the country's foreign ministers.
Separately, a Japanese media outlet claimed Kim was in a “vegetative state” after undergoing heart surgery.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in's foreign policy advisor Chung-in Moon has said they believe Kim has been staying in Wonsan since April 13 – with "no suspicious movements".
Misinformation is spreading with a fake picture of Kim in a glass coffin going viral, and reports of doctored news report being circulating inside North Korea.
Pyongyang elites have also been left in the dark about what has happened to Kim.
China has reportedly sent a team of doctors to investigate, and the US flew five spy planes over North Korea to try and solve the mystery.
It is speculated his sister Kim Yo-jong could be next in line after him if he was to be dead and reports claims she has already been named official successor.
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