Ailing Thai king under doctors' close watch with high fever: Palace

A portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej is displayed on a street in Bangkok, Thailand.
A portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej is displayed on a street in Bangkok, Thailand.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's venerated but ailing 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej has been treated for heart trouble, high blood pressure and irregular breathing in recent weeks, the palace said in a statement Tuesday (Feb 16).

The king is worshipped by many Thais as a near-deity, and his frail health is a subject of significant public concern.

He has spent most of the past two years hospitalised for a series of ailments, with few public appearances or speeches.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, Thailand's Royal Household Bureau said the king was being monitored for a high fever after doctors discovered diastolic dysfunction and high blood pressure in his lung last week.

"A team of royal physicians periodically administered antibiotic solution intravenously and also continuously provided oxygen," the statement said.

Doctors are now "closely monitoring his condition" while they seek an explanation for irregular breathing and a high temperature detected yesterday, according to the palace, which tightly controls information about the royal family.

Bhumibol is the world's longest-reigning monarch with nearly seven decades on the throne, and most Thais have never known life under another king.

Anxiety over what will happen after his reign comes to an end is considered an aggravating factor in the country's past decade of tumultuous politics.

Bhumibol last left Bangkok's Siriraj hospital in early January for an hour-long trip by car to visit his palace and other royal projects, according to palace officials.

He was last seen in an official photograph distributed in mid-December.

The kingdom has one of the world's strictest lese majeste laws, punishing any criticism of the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison.

The law has been wielded with renewed vigour ever since royalist army generals seized power in a May 2014 coup.