Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died aged 88, ending seven decades on the throne during which he became a unifying father figure and rare source of stability in a country that has weathered more than a dozen coups since he came to power in 1946 aged just 18.
A statement from the royal household bureau said Bhumibol, who was the world’s longest reigning monarch, “passed away peacefully” at 3.52pm (8.52am BST) on Thursday at Siriraj hospital in Bangkok.
Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-ocha, dressed in a black suit, appeared on domestic television channels minutes after the announcement and confirmed that the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will succeed to the thrown. He said the nation will observe a year-long mourning period.
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