BANGKOK (AP) – Tears streamed down the faces of Thais upon the news that King Bhumibol Adulyadej had died.
Many people in the large crowd that had been holding a vigil outside Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok broke down with emotion Thursday evening. Many held pictures of the king and wore yellow or pink clothing in his honor.
In the Sukhumvit commercial district of the capital, humanitarian worker Gaewkarn Fuangtong was sobbing.
“I lost one of the most important people in my life. I feel like I haven’t done enough for him. I should have done more. I will do good, do better for his sake.”
Office worker Patcharatida Jamsrijun, said “My heart sank,” upon hearing of the king’s passing.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will become the new monarch in accordance with the constitution.
He said the king had designated his successor on Dec. 28, 1972. “We the government must proceed with the next steps in accordance with the law,” he said.
Prayuth did not name Vajiralongkorn specifically, but it has been officially proclaimed that he was named the successor by his father 44 years ago.
He said the government will notify the National Legislative Assembly, or parliament, of the king’s successor, and they will act accordingly with the laws of succession in the constitution.
Prayuth added that the government will observe one year of mourning and flags will fly at half-staff for 30 days. No government events will be held for 30 days, he said.