On Saturday, the hashtag "Kim Jong-un Dead" was a trending topic on Twitter just before reports began to circulate claiming that Kim had passed away. According to a report by The International Business Times, media outlets in China are now reporting that the North Korean leader died in a botched heart surgery earlier this month. While the news has not yet been confirmed, it has made a splash on social media.
The Hong Kong Satellite Television network (HKSTV) cited a "very solid source" to report that Kim is dead. The story is now circulating on the social media app Weibo, suggesting that Kim went under for heart surgery and never woke up. Some reports claim that the surgeon operating on Kim was so nervous that their hands trembled through the operation, and the stent was put into him in the wrong place. So far, the North Korean state-run media outlet KCNA has not commented on this growing story.
In the meantime, however, social media has been ahead of the curve. "Kim Jong-un Dead" began trending on Twitter on Saturday, apparently based on multiple reports from around the world. The Japanese magazine Shukan Gendai reported that Kim was in a "vegetative state," while earlier reports out of China suggested that he might be in poor health.
Factual reporting made up only a small part of the chatter online, however. News feeds were also full of speculation and commentary from people all over the world, both about what was going on and what it might mean for North Korea's future.
There was also an onslaught of memes about the topic as well. People joked about Kim and his relations with other countries on social media, and with millions of people self-isolating, they had all the time in the world to edit together pictures and videos to get their jokes across.
Here is a look at what social media has been saying about "Kim Jong-un Dead" on Saturday.
4 months into 2020, and:— Saeed Awawdeh (@SaeedDiCaprio) April 25, 2020
-WW3 almost happened
-Australian Forest Fires
-Kobe Bryant passed away
-A global pandemic
-Half of the globe is on lockdown
-Forest fires near Chernobyl spiked up radiation by 16 times
-Kim Jong Un died #KIMJONGUNDEAD pic.twitter.com/BVlKgF3mIL