1. His official biography claimed his birth was foretold by a swallow and led to the appearance of a double rainbow along with the emergence of a new star in space. He went on to spread the myth among his subjects that his mood could control the weather.
2. You may not be aware of this, but Kim Jong-Il was the world's greatest golfer... According to an official government handout marking his 62nd birthday, Kim celebrated by demolishing a par 72 course in just 34 strokes, managing a world record five holes-in-one on the way. To top it all, the superhuman round was apparently the first time he had actually played the sport.
3. In 2006, German giant rabbit breeder Karl Szmolinsky was contacted by Pyongyang, asking if they could buy 12 of the bumper bunnies. Having seen the massive rabbits in a newspaper, Kim planned to set up a breeding programme to boost meat production in the famine-hit country. Despite Szmolinsky warning the rabbits would make the situation worse - they only yield about 15 pounds of meat and have a huge appetite for carrots and potatoes - Kim insisted the animals should still be sent. Szmolinsky claims once the animals arrived Kim ate them himself as part of his birthday celebrations.
4. In 2004, a former chef for Kim revealed the North Korean leader employed staff to make sure the grains of rice served to him were absolutely uniform in size and colour.
5. In 2010 Kim Jong-Il banned the World Cup from being broadcast in North Korea unless the national team won. The communist country's state-run TV stations were ordered not to broadcast live matches or games involving other nations, with only heavily edited highlights of North Korean victories permitted to be screened.
6. Hacked off by the lack of film-makers in his native land, in 1978 Kim arranged for two South Korean directors to be kidnapped from Hong Kong and brought to him. They tried to escape but eventually relented, making a string of movies for him including the cult Godzilla rip-off Pulgasari.
7. After being told by doctor's to give up smoking in 2007, Kim quit then decided he needed to go one step further to protect his health and so outlawed fags for the rest of his compatriots with a nationwide ban.
8. According to Russian emissary Konstantin Pulikovsky, who travelled with Mr Kim by train across Eastern Europe, Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks. Where did all his food go? An official biography on the North Korean state website declared Kim Jong Il did not defecate. The biography has since been removed.
9. After suffering a back injury following a horse riding accident, Kim was prescribed painkillers. Fearful of becoming addicted, he ordered a half-dozen of his closest staff to receive the same injection under the logic that if he became dependent, he wouldn't be the only one.
10. As well as being something of a foodie, Kim knew his booze. According to Hennessy, Kim was one of their single biggest customers, importing £350,000 worth of the cognac every year.
11. In 2004 he claimed to have invented the hamburger.
12. One of his unofficial titles was The Central Brain.
13. He once wrote six operas in two years.
14. He has collected more than 20,000 foreign films - with his favourites including Rambo and Friday 13th.
15. He was a keen roller-blader.
16. During a 2001 visit to Moscow by rail he had roast donkey flown to his train every day.
17. In the 1950s he built an entire city called Kijong-Dong that was designed only for propaganda. To this day it has no residents.
Note: outlawing fags isn't nearly as awful as you might think.
Update: The above list of 17 bizarre "facts" about the life of Kim Jong Il help explain the many tears flowing in North Korea right now. You'd be this sad too if you lost the guy who not only invented the hamburger but golfed a par 72 course in just 34 strokes.