World Leaders and Royalty Mourn the Death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Thailand’s Royal Palace announced on Thursday that King Bhumibol Adulyadej died at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, and people around the world responded with an outpouring of grief.
Hundreds of Thais had gathered by the hospital since Sunday to chant prayers and offer flowers after news spread of the monarch’s deteriorating health. By Wednesday, the palace announced that the 88-year-old leader’s kidneys and liver were not working properly, and his health had “overall not yet stabilized.”
The king—who was the world’s longest reining monarch, having been on the throne for seven decades—is widely revered in Thailand. He will be succeeded by his son and male heir Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, says the country’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has led the country since a 2014 coup. He says Thailand will hold a yearlong grieving period.
Here is how world leaders reacted to the death:
U.S. President Barack Obama sent his condolences and recalled the king’s ” grace and warmth, as well as his deep affection and compassion for the Thai people,” according to a White House statement.
He also said the late monarch was “a tireless champion of his country’s development and demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving the standard of living of the Thai people.With a creative spirit and a drive for innovation, he pioneered new technologies that have rightfully received worldwide acclaim. His Majesty leaves a legacy of care for the Thai people that will be cherished by future generations.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the king “one of the tallest leaders of all time” who was “widely revered by his people.”
The Republic of Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins said the world “lost both its longest reigning head of state and a statesman deeply committed to peace and peaceful co-existence.” He extended his condolences to the people of Thailand, saying: “I wish to express my deepest sympathies to his wife, Queen Sirikit, and his children, in particular to his daughter Maha Chakri Sirindhorn whose visit to Áras an Uachtaráin I recall with fondness, as well as to his wider family and to the people of Thailand.”
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the Southeast Asian country is “deeply saddened to learn of the passing” of the King. “His Majesty King Bhumibol will long be remembered and respected both in the Kingdom of Thailand and around the world for his devotion to his people,” read the statement.