Other analysts in South Korea say that Kim Jong-nam fell out of the succession race after his mother, Sung Hae-rim, was rejected by the North Korean leader, who favored Kim Jong-un's mother, Ko Young-hee. Ms.
Malaysian police have confirmed that the North Korean man killed Monday in Kuala Lumpur was the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Bernama state news agency reports.
Neither the Malaysian nor the North Korean governments have officially confirmed the death of the man who was once thought to be Kim Jong Il's successor.
He was taken to the airport clinic and then died on the way to the hospital.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement that a North Korean man identified as Kim Chol who sought initial medical assistance at the KLIA2 airport customer service counter, had died en route to hospital on Monday.
The US government believes that Kim Jong-nam's death was likely the work of North Korean agents, a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.
The suspect and another woman fled from the scene, Mat said.
He was spurned for the succession, and his father appointed his younger half-brother Kim Jong Un before his death in 2011.
Kim Jong-Nam was once believed to be the heir apparent to long-standing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
"I think he represented an alternative path which North Korea might have taken some years ago where some aspects of the Kim family system could have been retained alongside reforms toward a more collective leadership and an actual opening up to the outside world", said Adam Cathcart, a North Korea expert at Leeds University in the United Kingdom.
This weekend saw wall-to-wall coverage of North Korea's missile testing. Pyongyang has been blamed for numerous attacks against defectors and critics overseas, including the 1974 assassination attempt against South Korean leader Park Chung-hee (whose wife was killed instead) and the 1987 bombing of a Korean airliner by a female North Korean agent.
South Koreans have also been abducted too - the most high profile case was of a film director and his actress wife, who were snatched in Hong Kong and taken to North Korea so they could help build its film industry. But if true, the latest reports would mark another surprising development in the tales of North Korea's leadership.