It is official, the much revered Thai monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has passed away at the age of 88
This is confirmed by the Thai royal palace. “His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully,” it said. The King passed away at 3.52pm Bangkok time (4.52pm Singapore time).
The palace announced on Sunday (9 October) that Bhumibol was in an unstable condition at Siriraj hospital after receiving hemodialysis treatment. He was also having breathing difficulties, therefore, he needed a ventilator.
In a health bulletin issued Wednesday evening, the palace said that he remained on the ventilator and was in unstable condition that his blood pressure was low, his liver function was abnormal and he appeared to have a blood infection.
The doctor gave him antibiotics and he was also put on continuous renal replacement therapy (CCRT) which is usually given to critically ill patients.
Earlier this month, the King was announced to be recovering from a respiratory infection.
The Palace said that King Bhumibol has been treated for a variety of health complications over the past two years, which includes bacterial infections, breathing difficulties, heart problems, and hydrocephalus – a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid often referred to as “water on the brain”.
The King had served the country for seven decades. He is largely seen as a critical unifying force in the country who was born in the United States on 5 December 1927.
When he was only two-year-old, his father, Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, died. And when his childless uncle, King Prajadhipok, abdicated in 1935, his nine-year-old brother, Ananda, took the throne.
However, King Ananda was shot dead in his bed in 1946 when he was only 20-year-old to circumstances that remain unclear. Thereafter, King Bhumibol ascended to the throne at the tender age of 18.
Thailand has strict laws that ban planning for succession or discussing the current leader’s health in public. Therefore, there could potentially be potential turmoil between the military and Bhumboil’s son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, and daughter, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Thailand’s government is technically a constitutional monarchy. However, it ratified its newest constitution in August by a public referendum that further entrenched the military government of former general now-Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha which called for a civilian government but with strong influence from the military and for leaders to be appointed, not elected.
After the government faced accusations of corruption, Chan-ocha led a military coup in 2014 after the government faced accusations of corruption and has been credited for curbing violence in Thailand’s streets. However, the coup completely upended Thailand’s government and it presently does not have a permanent legislative branch with no plans for elections until next year.
While the legislative body is temporary, it still has major input. The interim constitution calls for the prime minister to be appointed by the monarch. However, the National Legislative Assembly must also pass a resolution which gives Chan-ocha every reason to be concerned over who becomes the next monarch in the event of the King’s death.
The Economist reported earlier this year that the princess is a much stronger candidate for the nation’s next royal leader. SInce, unlike his father, Prince Vajiralongkorn, 64, is quite disliked in Thailand as he is considered “spoilt and demanding, and‑to put it mildly-widely loathed.”