North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has been missing in public for the past several weeks, has undergone surgery for fractured ankles, it has been reported.
Kim was last seen on 3 September during a concert flanked by his wife. He was walking with a limp at the performance.
It was speculated that the 30-something leader is suffering from gout because of obesity which he inherited from his grandfather and father, both previous rulers of North Korea.
The South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, citing an unnamed source who recently visited North Korea, reported that Kim is still in hospital recovering from the surgery.
The source said: "I heard that Kim Jong-un injured his right ankle in June after pushing ahead with on-site visits and ended up fracturing both ankles because he left the injury unattended."
Kim is said to be at the Bonghwa Clinic, which often takes care of medical treatment of high-ranking North Korean authorities.
The source added: "There's been a marked increase in the number of elite officials visiting the ward."
There were also reports that Kim's official car remains in the capital Pyongyang suggesting that the highly-secretive leader has not left the city.
In a rare admission, the North Korean state media had earlier said that Kim was unwell and suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition".
This is the first time the reclusive country has openly spoken about a leader's health problems.