The world’s longest-reigning monarch, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has died, the royal palace confirmed this evening (Oct. 13). The news caps days of speculation about his health, after the palace issued an unusual series of bulletins about the king’s health since Sunday.
Born in the US and raised in Switzerland, Bhumibol ascended to the Thai throne in 1946 after the death of his brother, Ananda Mahidol. A keen saxophone player and dog lover, King Bhumibol was dearly loved by Thais, and has remained a symbol of unity despite the multiple military coups and protests that have roiled the country over the decades. In recent days, Thais had gathered outside his hospital, crying and praying for his recovery.
King Bhumibol’s named successor is his only son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends much of his time outside Thailand.
Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had the following statement on the king’s death:
Here’s King Bhumibol’s life in photos: