In July 1994, Kim Il-sung, the communist leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), died from a sudden heart attack at the age of 82. His death caused a nationwide mourning crisis, and a ten-day mourning period was declared by his son and successor, Kim Jong-il.
His funeral in Pyongyang was attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over North Korea, many of whom were mourning dramatically (there were reports that many people committed suicide or were killed in the resulting mass mourning crushes), weeping and crying Kim Il-sung’s name during the funeral procession. Since his death, Yeong Saeng (“eternal life”) monuments have been erected throughout the country, each dedicated to the departed “Eternal Leader” at which citizens are expected to pay annual tribute on his official birthday or the anniversary of his death.
After the Korean war and the consolidation of power under Kim Il-sung in North Korea, a personality cult began to develop centered on the ideology of Kim Il-sung. Kim established extensive personality cult, and North Koreans began to address him as “Great Leader”. Kim developed the policy and ideology of Juche (self-reliance) rather than having North Korea become a Soviet satellite state.