Thailand's King Bhumibol dies

    Thailand's King Bhumibol dies

    Oct.13, Bangkok: Thailand's venerated King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has died at the age of 88, the Royal Palace announced.

    King Bhumibol passed away at Bangkok's Siriraj hospital on Thursday. The palace did not give a reason for his death. "His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully," a statement said, adding he died at 15:52 (0852 GMT).

    The highly revered monarch spent most of the past decade hospitalised for a variety of ailments, including kidney and lung problems.

    The palace recently said the octogenarian had been in a "not stable" condition for several days after receiving dialysis treatment.

    Bhumibol had been Thailand's king since 1946 and had earned the deepest respect from the vast majority of Thais.

    A constitutional monarch with no formal political role, Bhumibol was widely regarded as Thailand's unifying figure in the nation's fractious political scene.

    Since 1932, Thailand has witnessed 19 coups, including 12 successful ones. The latest was in 2014 that installed the current military government led by former army general Prayuth Chan-ocha.

    Bhumibol was the revered "father of the nation". Thais are taught about the king's public service efforts at school, cinema-goers have to stand for the royal anthem at the start of films, and people prostrated themselves in his presence.

    Giant portraits of the king - and Queen Sirikit, 84 - pepper towns and cities across the country, while photos of the monarch adorn many Thai households.

    Helped by well-publicised rural development projects, the soft-spoken, bespectacled king enjoyed an image of a benevolent moral force in a kingdom with a long history of instability and political bloodshed.

    The Oslo Times International News Network