PYONGYANG - Jo Myong-rok, a member of the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), passed away Saturday, the official KCNA news agency reported.
Jo, a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and the first vice chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC), died of an "inveterate heart disease" at the age of 82, it was reported on Sunday.
Jo's death is "a great loss" to the party, the army and people of the DPRK, said an obituary jointly issued on Saturday by the Central Committee of the WPK, the Central Military Commission of the WPK, the NDC, and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.
Jo's contributions to the party, the revolution, the country and the people will "shine long along with the victorious advance of the revolutionary cause," it said.
On the same day, it was announced that a state funeral would be held for Jo and a state funeral committee was formed with top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il as its chairman and Kim Jong Un and 169 others as its members. The bier would be placed in the Central Hall of Workers and the hearse would leave the hall at 9 a.m. on November 10.
Jo, born to a poor peasant's family in Yonsa County, North Hamgyong Province, on July 12, 1928, has worked for years at important posts of the party, the state and the army, according to the KCNA.
In the Korean War, he fought as a pilot of the Korean People's Army (KPA). In post-war period, he successively held the posts of squadron commander, group commander and divisional commander of an air unit and the chief of the staff and commander of the KPA air force.
Jo has been the director of the General Political Bureau of the KPA since October 1995, and first vice-chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission since September 1998.
He was elected to the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK in September and has been a deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly since 1977.
He was awarded Order of Kim Il Sung, the highest order of the DPRK, the titles of Hero of the DPRK and Labour Hero and many other orders and medals including Order of National Flag First Class and Order of Freedom and Independence First Class.
He received the title of vice marshal of the KPA in October 1995.
Jo accompanied top DPRK leader Kim Jong-il during the latter's visit to China in May 2000. In October of that year, he visited the United States as a special representative of Kim Jong-il.