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Cause of Death

Kim Jong Il died of 'fatigue.' Isn't that how Elvis died?

12:00 PM, Dec 20, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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You can't just say that the Great Leader died of a heart attack. Instead, here is how North Korea's official news agency originally explained it: "In the whole period of his protracted revolutionary guidance, he valued and loved the people very much and always shared weal and woe with them. He continued to make difficult forced march for field guidance, making unremitting efforts and working heart and soul to build a thriving country and improve the standard of people's living. He died from repeated mental and physical fatigue on a train in that course." You can read the entire bizarre statement here.

Later, the news agency revealed it was a "severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack" that ended Kim's life. But that line about fatigue is a good one—a catchall, if you will. It reminded me of my tour of Graceland in the late 1990s. The narrator for a segment of the audiotour said that Elvis Presley got up on the morning of August 16, 1977, and played some racquetball before returning to the main house, where he went upstairs "to rest" and passed away. No, I did not expect any mention of the "death throne" or that he was reading a book about the Shroud of Turin while doing his business. And there was certainly no mention of all the drugs in his system. (The audiotour has since been redone with a new voiceover by daughter Lisa Marie.) Over at the official Elvis website, we learn,

Shortly after midnight, Elvis returns to Graceland from a late-night visit to the dentist. Through the early morning of the 16, he takes care of last minute tour details and relaxes with family and staff. He is to fly to Portland, Maine, that night and do a show there on the 17, then continue the scheduled tour. He retires to his master suite at Graceland around 7:00 a.m. to rest for his evening flight. By late morning, Elvis Presley is dead of heart failure. It is announced by mid-afternoon. In a matter of hours the shock registers around the world.

Frankly, I don't know where the racquetball game fits into all of this. And when I asked my mother why Elvis died, she simply said, "he had a heart attack." When I asked why he had a heart attack (I was four), she replied, "He ate too much meat."

Likewise, the Great Leader has died of fatigue. Why fatigue? He was "working heart and soul to build a thriving country and improve the standard of people's living."

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