Kim Jong Un weighs about as much as the average-size sumo wrestler, smokes like a chimney and comes from a family with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
North Korea’s dictator, believed to be 36, tips the scales at just about 300 pounds but stands only 5 feet, 6 inches. And he is a chain smoker, puffing on four packs of coffin sticks a day.
The blubber comes from Kim’s love of cheese and wine, Newsweek reported a few years ago. He once had to take a breather from public life after he gobbled too much Emmental cheese that he had ordered from Switzerland. Six years ago, his booze budget topped $30 million, according to a UN report.
In 2012, the magazine reported, Kim packed on so much weight that he developed a cyst on his ankle and required surgery to remove it.
Kim ascended as supreme leader in 2011 after his father, Kim Jong Il, reportedly died from a heart attack at the age of 70. And Kim Jong Il took over the country in 1994 after his father, Kim Il-Sung, dropped dead of a heart attack at his Pyongyang residence. The 82-year-old dictator had led North Korea since he founded it in 1948.
Kim Jong Il was a smoker and a diabetic, too. He once commissioned North Korean scientists to duplicate his favorite cigarettes, Rothman’s, with tobacco grown in Africa — even as hundreds of thousands of North Koreans died of starvation in the 1990s, biologist Kim Hyeongsoo told a human rights conference a few years ago.
Kim Hyeongsoo noted that Kim Jong Il dispatched dozens of scientists to create aphrodisiacs for himself. He had a harem of young girlfriends and was a heavy drinker and loved processed food. During Kim Jong II’s 17 years in power, North Korea was often the world’s largest purchaser of Hennessy Paradis cognac. The leader also reportedly sent government aides to Beijing to pick up Big Macs at McDonald’s.
Kim Jong Il’s penchant for disappearing from public for weeks at a time fueled speculation about his ill health. In 2007, he returned from an absence looking thinner and with significantly less hair, leading to rumors that he had suffered a heart attack.
When Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke in 2008, Chinese and French doctors helped treat him, according to South Korean media reports at the time. Three years later, he died of a heart attack, although there are rumors that he died much earlier from complications related to diabetes.
The Kim family medical history also included other mysterious illnesses. During his nearly 50 years in power, Kim Il-Sung was pictured on trips outside the country with a tennis ball-sized growth on the back of his neck. The growth was carefully hidden in photographs that appeared of the ruler in North Korea, according to the Japan Times.
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