Kim Jong Il Dead: Timeline Of Leader's Life

North Korea's ailing 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il has passed away at 69-years-old. Kim took over power from his father Kim Il Sung in 1994, and ruled the country for 17 years before his death.

Kim Jong Il was born in 1941 or 1942 and rose through the ranks of North Korea's Worker's Party. He was officially named his father's heir in 1974, yet only came to power in 1994 when the elder Kim died of a heart attack.

Inheriting power from his father in 1994, he led his nation through a devastating famine while frustrating the U.S. and other global powers with an on-again, off-again approach to talks on giving up nuclear arms in return for energy and other assistance. Kim was one of the last remnants of a Cold War-era that ended years earlier in most other countries.

Take a look at Kim's life and career in the slideshow below. Captions courtesy of AP.