King Bhumibol's wise leadership and enormous prestige held the country together: PM Lee

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died on Oct 13, 2016, aged 88.
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died on Oct 13, 2016, aged 88.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was much beloved and revered by his people, dedicated himself wholly to his country, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"His wise leadership and enormous prestige held the country together," he said.

Mr Lee, who had just arrived in Singapore from a visit to Australia, offered his deepest condolences to the royal family and the people of Thailand. King Bhumibol died on Thursday (Oct 13) at the age of 88.

Mr Lee, who put up a Facebook post in the early hours of Friday (Oct 14), said he last met the king in 2009 during the Asean Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand. "He was the most gracious host and took a close interest in Asean programmes to promote economic growth and development," he wrote.

Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement shortly after the king's death was announced by the palace.

"The Government of the Republic of Singapore is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand," the MFA said in the statement.

"The Government and people of Singapore convey their condolences to the Royal Family, the Government and people of the Kingdom of Thailand."

King Bhumibol was "an outstanding and deeply revered monarch", MFA said. He ruled for seven decades, from 1946.

"Throughout his long reign, he worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Thai people. His Majesty King Bhumibol also made great contributions for the enduring friendship between Thailand and Singapore," said MFA.

The king will be long remembered and respected everywhere for "his devotion to his people".
Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean sent his condolences to the Thai people in a message on Facebook.

Mr Teo, who is Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, is Prime Minister while PM Lee Hsien Loong is away in Canberra.

Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo, in a Facebook post, said King Bhumibol will always be remembered for "his great contributions to the Thai Kingdom, and his enduring friendship between Thailand and Singapore".

The Royal Thai Embassy in Singapore announced that there would be events dedicated to the remembrance of the king.

King Bhumibol died at Siriraj Hospital at 3.52pm Bangkok time (4.52pm Singapore time), the Palace announced. He was 88.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in a televised address on Thursday evening, declared that mourning will last for one year, and flags will fly at half mast for 30 days.