North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been absent from the public eye since April 11. Contradictory reports on the secretive leader have emerged, ranging from him being in a vegetative state following a cardiovascular surgery, to his death. On Monday, April 27, South Korea which is technically at war with the North, said that "Kim Jong Un is alive and well".
This isn't the first time that a North Korean elite has been away from the public eye, fueling suspicions of possible death. Here's a look at such instances:
On November 16, 1986, South Korean press reported that the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK], commonly known as North Korea, had died. The next day, South Korea's military spokesman announced that the North Koreans used loudspeakers at the North-South border to announce that he was shot to death, Los Angeles Times reported in 1986.
A day later, Kim Il-Sung appeared at an airport in Pyongyang, where he greeted delegates from Mongolia. He died eight years later, in 1994.
In 2004, a massive explosion at Ryongchon station, near North Korea-China border, left thousands dead and injured. Rumours about the then North Korean leader's assassination attempt, started appearing as he had passed through the station, just a few hours earlier.
Rumours about his death following a 2008 stroke became so frequent that South Korea's financial regulator had to investigate, whether the rumours were being deliberately spread to manipulate stock markets, Associated Press reported. When he actually died in 2011, the world didn't know about it for two days, until the country's state media announced it.
In 2013, reports surfaced that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of North Korean pop singer and his former girlfriend, Hyon Song-wol. It was reported that she was shot by firing squad. However, she reappeared in 2014 and is now seen alongside Kim, on several important summits. She is a member of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, chaired by Kim.
Kim Jong-un's aunt, Kim Kyong-hui was reported dead in 2015. Reports claimed that her nephew had poisoned her to death. However, she appeared this year in January, alongside Chairman Kim, at a concert.