Cambodia mourns beloved former king Sihanouk
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Tearful Cambodians wore black ribbons and flags flew at half-mast on Tuesday as the nation mourned the death of revered ex-king Norodom Sihanouk and prepared for the return of his body from China.
Sihanouk, who steered his country through decades of painful political and social upheavals, from independence to war, the Khmer Rouge terror and finally peace, died after suffering a heart attack in Beijing on Monday. He was 89.
His body is set to be brought back to his homeland on Wednesday where it will lie in state at the royal palace in Phnom Penh for three months ahead of a lavish funeral, according to government officials.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, in a condolence letter to Sihanouk's wife Queen Monique and his son, current King Norodom Sihamoni, praised the "remarkable and incomparable" former monarch who will be remembered by his compatriots "for eternity".