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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
N Korean leader's lover 'dead'
Ko Young-hee
Ko Young-hee gave birth to two of Kim Jong-il's sons
The favourite consort of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is rumoured to have died, according to media reports.

Ko Young-hee, a Japanese-born former dancer, gave birth to two of Mr Kim's sons, both of whom are considered possible successors.

The North Korean leader's personal life is shrouded in mystery, but he is thought to have had a string of lovers.

Only one of these women is known to have married him - Kim Young-sook, chosen for him by his father.

Newspapers in Seoul quote both North Korean and Chinese sources as speaking of Ms Ko's death.

She is known to have been ill for some time. Sources in Seoul said she was flown to a Paris hospital in April, to receive treatment for cancer.

An unconfirmed report in the South Korean newspaper Choson said a very expensive coffin had recently been purchased in Paris, and flown to Pyongyang aboard a special plane.

Ko Yong-Hui is thought to have been born in Japan, coming to North Korea in the 1960s to work as a dancer.

She was said to be the favourite of all Kim Jong-il's consorts, and gave him his second and third sons, 23-year-old Jong-chul and 18-year-old Jong-woong.

North Korea's military is recently believed to have launched a campaign to praise her, prompting speculation that one of her sons was being groomed as heir-apparent.




SEE ALSO:
North Korea's secretive 'first family'
29 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific



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