Kim Jong Un has been missing from the public eye ever since he presided over a meeting on April 11. Speculation over his ill health gained traction following his absence at the birth anniversary celebrations of his late grandfather, one of the most significant holidays in North Korea.
Since then, there has been a frenzy of conflicting media reports over his health, with some reports alleging that the leader has passed away, some claiming he's in a vegetative state while others say he's paralysed.
Kim's condition due to 'excessive drinking and overwork'?
Now, there's a new report from North Korean newspaper, Daily NK, claiming that Kim's ill health is a result of his excessive drinking habits and working too much. The report alleges that the 36-year-old dictator suffered health complications due to his excessive alcohol intake and stress from his position as the Supreme Leader of North Korea.
"Although we do not know exactly, it seems clear that Kim had something wrong health-wise due to either excessive drinking or overwork," the report states, before adding that Kim may have "retired" to his private villa in Wonsan before making his way up to Pyongyang on the "Day of the Sun" event but decided to skip the event as he wasn't feeling well.
History of health problems
Kim was always at risk of health complications, as he is not only a chain smoker but also a heavy drinker. The Kim family's ex-sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto has claimed the dictator once boasted he had consumed "10 bottles of Bordeaux" during a meal.
He also suffers from diabetes, according to intelligence reports. South Korea's spy agency claimed in 2016 that Kim had gained an incredible amount of weight as he suffers from insomnia over fears that he might get assassinated.
In September 2014, North Korean authorities conceded for the first time that Kim was suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition." Kim also has a family history of heart problems. Both his grandfather and father died of heart attacks at 82 years old and 69 years old, respectively.
Korean media continues to remain silent on Kim's status
Kim's absence has spurred a flurry of news reports and speculation over his health and whereabouts. Last week, reports poured in that the US was monitoring intelligence that Kim is "in grave danger after a surgery." A South Korean newspaper, Daily NK, also reported that Kim had undergone cardiac surgery and was receiving treatment.
According to Daily NK, Kim wants to add to the speculation around his condition by releasing diplomatic telegraphs to world leaders and letters signed by him "while simultaneously keeping both South Korea and the United States off-balance."
"This kind of behaviour fully utilizes the closed and isolated nature of North Korea and, so far, it has been considerably successful," the report added. North Korean media continues to report on Kim's activities but have failed to release any photo or video evidence to meaningfully contradict the rumours circulating about his death or ill-health.