King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is dead after battling several age-related diseases.
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“Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died after 70 years as head of state, the palace says.
The 88-year-old king was widely revered but had been in poor health in recent years, making few public appearances.
He was seen as a stabilising figure in a country hit by cycles of political turmoil and multiple coups.
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will be the new monarch, the prime minister has said.
In a televised address to the nation, Prayut Chan-ocha said Thailand would hold a one-year mourning period and that all entertainment functions must be “toned down” for a month.
Describing the king’s death as “the most devastating moment for Thais”, the prime minister said: “He is now in heaven and may be looking over Thai citizens from there.
King Bhumibol was widely respected across Thailand, and thought of by many as semi-divine.
Hundreds of mourners have gathered outside the Bangkok hospital where he died, stricken with grief at the news.
Many held pictures of the king and wore yellow or pink clothing in his honour.
“How will Thailand live without you father?” cried one distressed man.
“I lost one of the most important people in my life. I feel like I haven’t done enough for him,” said another.”