King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died on Thursday after serving 70 years as head of state.
The 88-year-old king, who was the world’s longest reigning monarch, was highly regarded as a symbol of unity in the country.
King Bhumibol had been ailing in recent years. He was hospitalized in Bangkok for about a week. His condition, according to the Royal Household Bureau, was “not stable”; he had been on a ventilator and was suffering from kidney problems.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej Death: Head of state was hospitalized for about a week
“His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully,” the palace said, though it did not provide any specific cause of death. “Even though the board of doctors has closely monitored and treated him to the best of its abilities, the king’s condition never improved but deteriorated until Thursday.”
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha called out to the public to ensure that safety is maintained. “Everyone will need to be alert in every region and throughout the country to ensure safety,” he said.
As reported by BBC, the prime minister said Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will assume the role of the new monarch. The succession was announced in a statement broadcast on all Thai television channels shortly after King Bhumibol’s death.
“The government will proceed with the succession. The government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty the King appointed his heir on Dec 28, 1972,” which is when Vajiralongkorn was made Crown Prince, the prime minister said.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej Death: Queen Elizabeth II now world’s longest reigning monarch
As reported by the Guardian the death of King Bhumibol – who some critics say had endorsed military takeovers and on a few occasions did not speak against human rights abuses – makes Queen Elizabeth II the world’s longest-reigning monarch.
King Bhumibol is “greatly revered by large sections of the population, and is seen as a figure of stability during decades of coups and political turmoil,” the Telegraph notes.
“He is now in heaven and may be looking over Thai citizens from there,” the prime minster said.