Despite its pertinence to his own situation, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be unfamiliar with the famous quote "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” once attributed to the American humorist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.

When Kim unexpectedly went incommunicado for several weeks, punctuated by his missing the celebrations for one of North Korea’s most important holidays — the April 15 birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the founder of the North Korean regime — speculation was rife among the media and pundits that Kim was dead, a vegetable or worse.

The furor was apparently kicked off by the South Korean online newspaper Daily NK, which rightly prides itself on having a “wide range of sources inside North Korea.” North Korea watchers of all stripes joined the fervent speculation, noting that Kim had never before missed these celebrations, and that Pyongyang usually responds promptly to such health rumors by issuing a statement or simply displaying the leader in good sorts.