Bangkok: Thailand’s Royal Palace says King Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at age 88.
The palace said the king passed away peacefully on Thursday at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital. The palace statement did not mention details of mourning or succession. “His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully,” the palace said, adding he died at 15:52 (0852 GMT). His son and heir apparent, the 63-year old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, is expected to become Thailand’s new king.
Bhumibol Adulyadej became king in 1946 and was revered in Thailand as a demigod. He anchored the Southeast Asian country through violent upheavals at home and communist revolutions next door with a blend of majesty and a common touch.
The once-vigorous king had withdrawn from public life over the last decade due to his ill health. He lived at a Bangkok hospital and had been notably silent about the political upheaval that has shaken Thailand in recent years.