'Giant Soldier' Pictured At Kim Jong Il's Funeral In North Korea
Amid the sombre images of tens of thousands of North Koreans lining the streets to mourn the death of former leader Kim Jong Il, a startling sight has emerged.
A close-up of the back row of a line of soldiers in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace yesterday shows a man standing literally head and shoulders above the rest.
The soldier, who is seemingly well over eight tall, is revealed in the images released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.
He was spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit contributor and now speculation abounds as to the mystery man’s identity – and indeed if he is even real.
Kim Jong Il, who was known as the "dear leader" by his people, died on 17 December "from great mental and physical strain" on a train, according to state media.
His son and successor, Kim Jong Un, took the role of head mourner and state media showed him with one hand on the hearse with the other raised in salute.
He was accompanied in the procession through the snowy streets of the North Korean capital by Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law, who is expected to play a key role in the new regime.
"How can the sky not cry?" a weeping soldier standing in the snow told state TV. "The people... are all crying tears of blood."
State television also said the heavy snow fall ahead of the funeral was due to “heaven’s grief”
Kim Jong Il took power in 1994 after the death of his father Kim Il-Sung and was reported to have suffered a stroke in 2008.
However he had appeared relatively healthy on recent trips around Asia, despite reports he may have been suffering from cancer.
Outside of North Korea Kim Jong Il will be remembered as a brutal leader who prioritised military growth over his own people's welfare.
Under his rule, North Korea built the world's fifth-largest military - even as the country starved in a prolonged famine. He also relentlessly pursued nuclear arms, an endeavour which culminated in the country's first nuclear test in 2006.