A prominent former North Korean propaganda official has passed away.
The North Korean ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Saturday that Ri Jae-il died aged 86 on Thursday from acute respiratory failure caused by lung cancer.
The Korean Central News Agency also conveyed the news, saying leader Kim Jong-un extended condolences and sent flowers.
Ri, a former journalist, became the First Deputy Director of the ruling Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department in 2004.
He survived a large scale purge in 2014 when many senior officials of the department were removed.
His presence continued under the Kim Jong-un regime, including his reported role of assisting propaganda affairs led by Kim's younger sister Kim Yo-jong.
Ri continued to accompany the leader despite his old age, but disappeared from public events over the last two years. He was last seen at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Memorial Palace in 2018.