Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned over the country for more than 70 years, died Thursday after an extended illness. He was 88.

 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej

 

The Royal Palace said Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch since his 1946 coronation, died at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. Officials did not give a cause.Officials said he “passed away peacefully” at 3.52 p.m. local time. The government declared a year of mourning.

 

Although he had no formal political role, Bhumibol was a unifying figure through the nation and widely respected by a majority of Thais. He had been hospitalized for many years, making only limited public appearances.

 

“It’s a great loss to Thai people,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said.

 

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is expected to become Thailand’s new king.