Japanese magazine Shukan Gendai has treported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fell into a vegetative state after receiving heart surgery.
The report further compounds the mystery of where the nation’s leader has been since April 11. A member of the Chinese team of experts dispatched to North Korea allegedly told the magazine about Kim’s condition.
The expert, who was not named, claimed that earlier this month, Kim grabbed his chest and collapsed to the ground. He was rushed to a hospital after receiving CPR and later underwent surgery. China was reportedly called after the incident, prompting the delegation of experts to visit the country.
It was reported Friday that the delegation was being led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department. The team, which also included several doctors, left for North Korea on Thursday.
On Monday, the Daily NK , a South Korean-based website, reported that Kim was recovering from a “cardiovascular surgical procedure.” CNN also reported late Monday night that the U.S. intelligence community is investigating reports that he was in “grave danger” after the surgery.
Kim was absent from the public on Friday while the country’s state-run media celebrated the 88th anniversary of the country’s armed forces.
South Korean officials have said there is no evidence that Kim is unwell, although intelligence services in both South Korea and the United States have said they are monitoring the reports.
Kim Jong Un weighs about as much as the average-size sumo wrestler, smokes like a chimney and comes from a family with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
North Korea’s dictator, believed to be 36, tips the scales at just about 300 pounds but stands only 5 feet, 6 inches and he is a chain smoker, puffing on four packs of coffin sticks a day.
The blubber comes from Kim’s love of cheese and wine, Newsweek reported a few years ago. He once had to take a breather from public life after he gobbled too much Emmental cheese that he had ordered from Switzerland. Six years ago, his booze budget topped $30 million, according to a UN report.
In 2012, the magazine reported, Kim packed on so much weight that he developed a cyst on his ankle and required surgery to remove it.