King of Thailand died after 70 years as head of state

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Getty

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died after 70 years as head of state.

The 88-year-old king was widely revered but had been in poor health in recent years, making few public appearances.

He was seen as a stabilising figure in a country hit by cycles of political turmoil and multiple coups.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will be the new monarch, the prime minister has said.

After two days of speculation and rumours surrounding the king’s deteriorating health, the palace announcement confirming his death finally came early on Thursday evening.

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

In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said Thailand would hold a one-year mourning period, that flags would fly half-mast and all entertainment functions must be “toned down” for a month.

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