Thais wept in grief across the nation Thursday after the palace announced the death of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country’s unifying figure and the world’s longest-reigning monarch. He was 88.
Hundreds of people gathered at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, where Bhumibol had been treated for a variety of ailments for much of the past decade. Many sobbed loudly, clutching each other in anguish and shouting “Long live the king.”
The government announced a 100-day mourning period and a 30-day moratorium on state events. His son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, is to succeed him on the throne.
Most Thais had seen no other king in their lifetime and thought of Bhumibol, who reigned for 70 years, as their father and the embodiment of goodness and godliness.
Although a constitutional monarch, he wielded enormous political power and served as a unifying figure during Thailand’s numerous political crises.