North Korea's enigmatic leader Kim Jong Il -- who, after succeeding his father 17 years ago, captained his poor, closed nation and antagonized its enemies -- has died, state media reported Monday. The son of Kim Il Song, the founder of the communist nation, Kim Jong Il had been in power since 1994 when his father died of a heart attack at age 82. The enigmatic leader was a frequent thorn in the side of neighboring South Korea, as well as the United States. There have been reports in recent years about his health, as well as that power will be transitioned to his son, Kim Jong Un. North Korean and communist party officials "released a notice on Saturday informing" members of the Workers' Party of Korea, military "and all other people" of Kim's passing, according to KCNA. All South Korean military units have been placed on "emergency alert" following Kim's death, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. South Korean officials have not noticed any unusual activity from North Korea, the agency reported early Monday afternoon. Kim's death also prompted South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to cancel all events on his schedule, Yonhap said. The White House, meanwhile, released a statement saying they are "closely monitoring reports" of Kim's death and are "in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan." From CNN The world has lost a great leader and humanitarian%%% Seriously though, Kim Jong-Il ran quite possibly the most brutal dictatorship in the modern era, including Iraq and Lybia. North Korea is quite literally starving to death while Kim's regime spends it's entire budget on nuclear armament. The isolation of the North is so great that South Korean intelligence estimates that less than 1% of the North's citizens know about the Arab Spring (a happening KJI would obviously have great motivation to hide) The North and South will be on very tenuous footing. Kim's son, Kim Jong-Un, is in line to succeed him but is just 27 years old. What happens now is anyone's guess.