Earlier in the week, both U.S. intelligence sources and South Korean media indicated that the pattern of military and political activity in North Korea did not show a high level of alert or disruption that might be expected should Kim be dead or the leadership of the isolated nation be in doubt. Newsweek indicated that this was still the impression of intelligence sources on Saturday morning.
Everything about this—the idea that Kim had surgery, the idea that the surgery went poorly, that Kim might have been in grave condition following the surgery, that China was dispatching a team to consult on Kim’s health, and that Kim has died—is a chain of rumors from various sources. Considering the ease with which rumors are being amplified and elaborated in the current environment, none of this should be credited as fact until more information is available.
Kim jong Un is thought to be 37, though his actual birthdate is unclear. There is no known plan for a successor, but it would likely to be someone in Kim’s immediate family—that is, one of the family members he hasn’t already killed.