Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, died at Siriraj Hospital on Thursday (13th October). He was 88 years old.
In a statement, the Royal Household Bureau said, “At 3:52pm he died at Siriraj Hospital peacefully. Although the team of doctors treated him to the best of their ability, his condition deteriorated”.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej took the throne of the kingdom at 18 years old shortly after World War II and reigned it for 70 years and 126 days. It was also reported that he spent most of his final years in the hospital.
Born in Cambridge and educated in Switzerland, the multi-talented king spoke fluent English and French, played the clarinet and saxophone, and even took up photography. But once he returned from Europe, he stayed put and stopped travelling abroad. During his reign, Thailand transformed from being a mostly agricultural economy to a modern one of industry and commerce.
The kingdom heir, 64-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was named as successor to the throne on 28th December 1972, will ascend the throne. Besides that, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha also said that the country would hold a one-year mourning period while all entertainment functions must be “toned down” for a month.
Upon hearing the news, hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital where he died. While many held pictures of the king, others wore yellow (the royal colour) or pink (which means good health) clothing in his honour.
“I lost one of the most important people in my life. I feel like I haven’t done enough for him,” said one of the mourners.
Rest in peace King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Our condolences go out to the people of Thailand.