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The 'utterly ruthless' Kim Jong Il: A visual history
A look back at the brutal North Korean leader's 69 years — from his strange, violent childhood to his time as a curiously-styled, nuclear-powered dictator 
 
Kim Jung Il Noboru Hashimoto/Sygma/Corbis

On Saturday, North Korea's "utterly ruthless" and infinitely intriguing ruler, Kim Jong Il, died at the age of 69. The man who led the secretive, poverty-stricken communist state for 17 years is as much a mystery in death as he was in life. But some things are known. From his brutal childhood to his rise to power to his diplomatic trials, here, a look back at Kim Jong Il's life in pictures.

 

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