World

BANGKOK – Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died after 70 years on the throne, the palace confirmed on Thursday.

“His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully,” the palace statement said, adding he died at 15:52 (08:52 GMT).

The 88-year-old king, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, was widely revered in Thailand. He was seen as a stabilizing figure in a country hit by cycles of political turmoil and multiple coups.

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Bhumibol Adulyadej had been in poor health in recent years and made few public appearances.

Parliament is to hold a special session at 21:00 local time (14:00 GMT), the BBC reported.

It has been reported that the country will mourn the king’s death for a whole year.

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King Bhumibol, who was born in Cambridge in the US state of Massachusetts, acceded to the throne on 9 June 1946 after his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, died.

Though a constitutional monarch with limited powers, King Bhumibol was regarded by many Thais as semi-divine. They looked to him to intervene in times of high tension.

He was seen as a unifying and calming influence through numerous coups and 20 constitutions.