SEOUL, South Korea - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is suffering from "discomfort," state media reported in the first official acknowledgement of ill health after a prolonged period out of the public eye. Kim, 31, who is frequently the centerpiece of the isolated country's propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside his wife on Sept. 3.
He had been seen walking with a limp since an event with key officials in July and in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media on Thursday appeared to have difficulty walking. "The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the painstaking efforts of our marshal, who keeps lighting the path for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering discomfort," a voice-over for the hour-long documentary said. Kim has rapidly gained weight since coming to power after his father died of a heart attack in 2011, photos released by state media show. "Based on his gait, it appears he has gout," said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership.
- Gout? Sprained Ankle? Semi-Divine Kim Spotted Limping
- American Nabbed Swimming to N. Korea in Bid to Meet Kim
- North Korea Woos Wealthy Tourists