Bangkok- Thailand’s 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej was announced dead on Thursday evening.
After the announcement, according to AFP, hundreds of people burst into tears in the hospital where he spent the majority of the past decade receiving treatment for various health problems.
U.S. President Barack Obama extended condolences to Thailand over the death of the King, calling him a “close friend” and partner of the U.S..”I had the honor of meeting him during my visit to Thailand in 2012 –I recall his grace and warmth, as well as his deep affection and compassion for the Thai people,” said Obama.
“King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in the U.S. and there is a square named after him at his birthplace in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
The last ten years of the late king term witnessed some political instability and conflicts between supporters of the king and supporters of Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The last appearance of the king was in January. He was crowned on 9 June 1946 and was viewed as a symbol of love and unity. During the past seven decades, he was keen to maintain stability in Thailand which was witnessing repetitive political turbulences.
Wearing pink and yellow shirts in the King’s honor, many in the crowd have sat in the hospital courtyard, positioned to look up toward the building where the King has been confined. Every now and they shout “Long live the king,” with some wiping away tears. As the death was announced, they kneeled down to pray.
A guy who seemed very touched said, “What will Thailand do without you?”
Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-ocha said on Thursday that the country would hold a one-year mourning period and that all entertainment functions must be “toned down” for a month. He added that Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, will take over the throne.