Huge crowds of black-clad Thais lined Bangkok's streets Friday hoping to see King Bhumibol Adulyadej's body borne to his palace, as the nation grieved for a monarch whose death leaves the country facing an uncertain future. Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, died at age 88 on Thursday after years of ill health, ending seven decades as a stabilizing figure in a nation of deep political divisions. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, is the king's named successor but has made a surprise request to delay formally assuming the throne, according to Thailand's junta leader, who appealed for citizens to "not cause chaos."
I'm lost for words because since I was born, I had him as a father of the nation and he unified us. I've never been in this situation before. I don't know what to say.Siwanee Varikornsakul, on office worker in the financial district
The government declared a public holiday and people across the shaken nation dressed in black, their eyes swollen and red with hours of weeping. The 88-year-old king had spent much of the last decade hospitalized for a variety of ailments, and the momentous news, announced in a palace statement Thursday, had long been both anticipated and feared. But the nation remained stable and life continued largely as usual with most shops, banks and tourist sites open.