Thailand’s king, world’s longest-reigning monarch, dies

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2011, file photo, Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is pushed on a wheelchair while leaving Siriraj hospital for the Grand Palace for a ceremony celebrating his birthday in Bangkok. Hundreds of tearful Thais on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, were continuing to offer flowers and chant prayers for King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside the Bangkok hospital where the world's longest-reigning monarch is being treated for multiple health problems. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Royal Palace says King Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at age 88.

The palace said the king passed away peacefully on Thursday at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital.

“Even though the board of doctors has closely monitored and treated him to the best of its abilities, the king’s condition never improved but deteriorated until Thursday,” it said in a statement.

It did not mention details of mourning or succession.

Bhumibol Adulyadej (pronounced poo-mee-pon ah-dun-yaa-det) became king in 1946 and was revered in Thailand as a demigod. He anchored the Southeast Asian country through violent upheavals at home and communist revolutions next door with a blend of majesty and a common touch.

The once-vigorous king had withdrawn from public life over the last decade due to his ill health. He lived at a Bangkok hospital and had been notably silent about the political upheaval that has shaken Thailand in recent years.

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