For more than a week, the mainstream media got a lot of mileage out of speculating as to whether North Korea’s leader had died. It turns out Kim Jong-un is alive, but that hasn’t stemmed the flow of rumors about his health.

Kim Jong-un’s name usually makes its way into the headlines of the international press following North Korean missile tests, or over verbal sparring with US President Donald Trump. But the latest wave of attention was caused by his absence from public life. If Kim missed his grandfather’s birthday, the media reasoned, something must be really wrong.

The leader was simultaneously declared: dead after a botched surgery; lying in a vegetative state, with his younger sister preparing to take over; or maybe just hiding from Covid-19.

Rumors of Kim’s death turned out to be exaggerated this week when North Korean state media released some fresh footage; Kim attended an opening ceremony of a fertilizer plant on Friday, the reports said. But why bury a good celebrity health scare story when there are more clicks to milked from it?

According to NK News, a mark that can be seen on Kim’s right arm during the May 1 appearance, and which was absent in earlier images from April 11, may indicate a recent heart surgery – at least, that’s what a “US-trained medical professional” told the outlet.

What to make of the dark colored mark spotted on Kim Jong Un’s arm in recent footage? Medical professionals said it may be related to a cardiovascular procedure. But another cardiologist says it’s unlikely, pointing out its position and appearance.

Of course, mainstream media outlets were quick to pick up on this issue, highlighting the “mysterious mark on his wrist.”

Has Kim Jong-un had heart surgery? Medical experts say ‘needle’ marks on his arms could hint at procedure

For what it’s worth, the South Korean government believes otherwise. When a senior presidential spokesperson was asked about the speculation on Sunday, he told reporters Seoul didn’t believe Kim had undergone even a moderate medical procedure.

Meanwhile, Kim’s American frenemy said he personally was glad to see the man “back, and well.”

If you like this story, share it with a friend!