Thailand’s king is dead

King BhumibolWell-wishers weep as they pray for Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Siriraj hospital where he is residing in Bangkok, Thailand, October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand’s King Bhumibol has died after a long illness. He was 88 years old.

– He died peacefully at Siriraj Hospital, said the Thai court on Thursday afternoon.

The King was pronounced dead at 3:52pm local time, or just before 11am Norwegian time.

The king has been hospitalized since January, and recently it has become clear that the king was dying.

It is not yet clear who will take over after the king, but Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is the one who follows.

Thailand’s parliament has called a special meeting at 4pm Norwegian time, said spokesman Jeth Sirathranont to Aftenposten.

King Bhumibol was the world’s longest-reigning king. He took the throne in 1946 and was formally crowned in 1950.

The 88 year old king has struggled with illness for some time and has not been seen in public for almost a year.

Bhumibol was regarded by many Thais as a unifying force in a conflict country. It is forbidden to criticize the monarchy or the royal family, and an infraction is punished strictly.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today