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October 2010: Kim Jong Il eyes his heir apparent, Kim Jong Un

Vincent Yu / AP

North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, right, and his son Kim Jong Un attend a massive military parade to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Oct. 10, 2010. Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader whose iron rule and nuclear ambitions dominated world security fears for more than a decade, has died. He was 69.

Now, as we learn of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death, one wonders more than ever what the North Korean leader was thinking about his son and preferred successor.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has died of heart failure at the age of 69. Msnbc's Lynn Berry and NBC's Ian Williams report that the "Great Leader" has "proved to be mortal after all."