Kim Kyong Hui, sister to the North Korean dictator's deceased father Kim Jong Il, is suspected to have died recently. It is speculated that she may have committed suicide shortly after her estranged husband's execution in December, or she might have suffered from a heart attack.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, after accusing him of opposing Jong Un's leadership and conspiring to stage a military coup against him. Many wondered what would become of Jong Un's Aunt, Kyong Hui, who though she had been estranged from her husband for several years, would normally have been subjected to imprisonment as a family member of one executed for treason. Kyong Hui's name appeared on a national committee list shortly after her husband's execution, however, hinting that she was still in her nephew's favor.
The Independent reports that Kim Kyong Hui might have been in support of her husband's execution, as Jang was accused of "womanizing" and the two had been reportedly separated for years. ABC News reported that Kim Kyong Hui had "openly expressed to the political bureau members" that Jang's power as second in command was a threat to the Kim family's rule.
Perhaps due to her health, Kyong Hui had not been seen in public since September 2013. Kyong Hui reportedly struggled with depression and alcoholism, and her only daughter had committed suicide in 2006. The New York Times reported that she was not oft seen in public during her brother Kim Jong Il's rule, either.
According to Fox News, the 68-year-old Kim Kyong Hui is thought to have died within the past few weeks. She had sought medical treatment at hospitals in other nations, and may have died of a heart attack or possibly committed suicide.