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.
CCTV’s Tony Cheng looks back on the king’s life and legacy. Follow Tony Cheng on Twitter @TLCBkk
Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies at 88Thailand’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. CCTV's Tony Cheng looks back on the king's life and legacy.
“Even though the board of doctors has closely monitored and treated him to the best of its abilities, the king’s condition never improved,” it said in a statement.
King Bhumibol, also known as Rama the 9th, was the longest-reigning monarch in history. He took the throne of the Kingdom more than 70 years ago, becoming the ninth reigning monarch of the Chakri Dynasty.
During his time, he witnessed more than 20 military coups and more than 50 cabinet changes in his country. Thailand’s long-standing relationship between the monarch and the military in governmental matters began in 1957.
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Rated as one of the world’s richest royals, King Bhumibol was widely loved and respected at home. He was also an accomplished musician, painter, and writer. Many considered him a demigod.
He is survived by his wife, Queen Sirikit and four children, including Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Crown Prince of Thailand, who is expected to succeed his father to the throne.
Hundreds of Thais have gathered outside the hospital since the palace announced on Sunday that the king’s condition had become “unstable.”
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn would become the new monarch in accordance with the constitution. He said government officials will observe a one-year mourning period, and no government events would be held for one month.
“He is now in heaven and may be looking over Thai citizens from there,” he said.
The once-vigorous king had withdrawn from public life over the last decade due to his ill health. He lived at the hospital and had been notably silent about the political upheaval that has shaken Thailand in recent years.
Hundreds of tearful mourners gathered Thursday outside the hospital, grasping photos of the king, chanting prayers and looking up at the building where he had been treated.
“There is no word to explain my feeling right now,” Gaewkarn Fuangtong, a humanitarian worker, said in Bangkok’s financial district.
“I lost one of the most important people in my life. I feel like I haven’t done enough for him. I should have done more. I will do good, do better for his sake.”
Bhumibol had suffered from a variety of ailments related to old age, including kidney and lung problems.
In a statement late Wednesday, the palace said his blood pressure had dropped, his liver and kidneys were not working properly and he was on a ventilator.
According to Thai tradition, members of the royal family will enter an official period of mourning which will last for at least 100 days.
Story by the Associated Press with additional information from CCTV News.
Lindsey Ford on King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s life and legacy.
For more about King’s life and legacy, CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Director of Asian Security at Asia Society Policy Institute, Lindsey Ford.