PYONGYANG, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The whole city of Pyongyang sank into deep sorrow on Monday following the announcement of the death of top leader Kim Jong Il of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Xinhua reporters saw a large number of people, including many students, gather in front of a bronze statue of Kim Il Sung in central Pyongyang to mourn the death of Kim Jong Il.
In a sorrowful atmosphere, they walked up the steps in a queue to the bronze statue to express grief. Some laid wreaths to the statue. Some burst into tears. Some women even fainted and fell to the ground.
Some restaurants and shops were closed, while vehicles and pedestrians in the streets were significantly fewer than usual. National flags were hoisted at half-mast in government institutions and schools.
Inside Kim Il Sung University, many teachers and students also laid wreaths to a bronze statue of Kim Il Sung. Some students locked themselves in the dormitories and were heard crying loudly inside.
Meanwhile, the DPRK has requested all forthcoming foreign delegations to cancel their trips. Some companies operating here have been asked to send their visitors back in a week.
Kim Jong Il, who was general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, died "from a great mental and physical strain at 08:30 (2330 GMT Friday) on Dec. 17, 2011, on a train during a field guidance tour," the official KCNA news agency announced Monday.
In a notice carried by the KCNA, the WPK Central Committee and Central Military Commission, the DPRK National Defence Commission, the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the Cabinet said that Kim Jong Il's demise "is the greatest loss to the WPK and the Korean revolution and the bitterest grief to all the Koreans at home and abroad."
Earlier in the day, a tearful woman presenter of the DPRK's state TV, dressed in black, announced the death of Kim Jong Il in a choked voice. DPRK TV channels have stopped regular programs to broadcast the news of Kim Jong Il's death, footage of his inspection tours and documentaries about his life.