Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was the world’s longest-reigning monarch, died in hospital on Thursday, the palace said in an announcement. The palace did not give a reason for his death. He was 88 years old.
“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. The Royal Palace said Bhumibol died “in a peaceful state” at Siriraj Hospital, where he had been treated for various health problems for most of the past decade.
Bhumibol, who was highly revered, has suffered from a variety of ailments related to old age, including lung and kidney problems. Only last week, doctors performed a hemodialysis to purify his blood. They also replaced a tube that drains excess cerebrospinal fluid. There is also great concern about the eventual succession plan. That’s because Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, who returned home from Germany on Wednesday, has not earned the same respect as his father. The Thai stock market is down significantly this week amid worries about the king’s health, though it rose slightly Thursday.
(With inputs from AP)