So Kim Jong-Il has died aged 69 after 17 years as North Korea’s leader. He died of heart failure on a train which, ironically, was his favoured method of transport due to a fear of flying.
Known for his eccentric decrees, here are 12 of his weirdest moments.
1. In 2004 he claimed to have invented the hamburger.
2. One of his unofficial titles was The Central Brain.
3. He once wrote six operas in two years.
4. He has collected more than 20,000 foreign films – with his favourites including Rambo and Friday 13th.
5. He was a keen roller-blader.
6. During a 2001 visit to Moscow by rail he had roast donkey flown to his train every day.
7. In the 1950s he built an entire city called Kijong-Dong that was designed only for propaganda. To this day it has no residents.
8. His official biography claimed his birth was foretold by a swallow and led to the appearance of a double rainbow along with the emergence of a new star in space. He went on to spread the myth among his subjects that his mood could control the weather.
9. After being told by doctor’s to give up smoking in 2007, Kim then decided he needed to go one step further to protect his health and so outlawed fags for the rest of his compatriots with a nationwide ban.
10. According to Russian emissary Konstantin Pulikovsky, who travelled with Mr Kim by train across Eastern Europe, Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks. Where did all his food go? An official biography on the North Korean state website declared Kim Jong Il did not defecate. The biography has since been removed.
11. After suffering a back injury following a horse riding accident, Kim was prescribed painkillers. Fearful of becoming addicted, he ordered a half-dozen of his closest staff to receive the same injection under the logic that if he became dependent, he wouldn’t be the only one.
12. As well as being something of a foodie, Kim knew his booze. According to Hennessy, Kim was one of their single biggest customers, importing £350,000 worth of the cognac every year.