SEOUL, South Korea — Hwang Jang-yop, a former senior member of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party who taught ideology to leader Kim Jong Il but defected to South Korea in 1997, has died. He was 87.
The official said that Hwang had died and that his body was still at his residence. He added that there was no sign of foul play. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.
Hwang was the chief architect of North Korea's guiding "juche" philosophy of self-reliance and was one of the country's most powerful officials when he fled during a visit to Beijing.
He had been close to the country's founder, Kim Il Sung — the father of current leader Kim Jong Il — and had tutored the younger Kim.
Since defecting, Hwang lived in Seoul under tight police security amid fears North Korean agents might try to take revenge. He wrote books and delivered speeches condemning Kim's government as authoritarian.
Two North Korean army majors were sentenced to prison in South Korea in July for plotting to assassinate Hwang. North Korea has denied the plot, accusing South Korea of staging it to intensify anti-Pyongyang sentiment.
Hwang's criticism of the regime he once served earned him the moniker "human scum" in North Korean media reports after his defection, which came on a visit to Beijing.