King Of Tonga Dies in Hong Kong: George Tupou V, 63, Will Be Succeeded By Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | March 20, 2012 4:17 AM EST
King of Tonga, George Tupou V, died on Sunday in Hong Kong at the age of 63. The Tongan government confirmed the death with the media but did not reveal a cause.
Tupou, who played a key role in bringing democratic reformation to the South Pacific nation, died hours after being rushed to the hospital. The Matangi Tonga Online reported that the king's younger brother, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, was by his side.
Tupouto'a Lavaka will succeed his brother as he is heir to the throne.
"Tonga has just woken up to the sad news of the passing of King George Tupou V," Paula Ma'u, an official in the Ministry of Information and Communication, told CNN. "We are all in mourning."
The Agence France-Presse reported that the king underwent surgery last year in Los Angeles to remove a kidney after a cancerous tumour was found.
Tupou was a bachelor. He was sworn in as king of Tonga in September 2006 after his father, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, died, according to the Global Post.
Before sitting on the throne he was known for his globe-trotting lifestyle and extravagant uniforms.
CNN reported that Pesi Fonua, editor of Matangi Tonga online, said that the Oxford-educated king was respected for the efforts he made to bring democratic reforms and modernize Tongo.
"This king brought in things like mobile phones and other advances that we couldn't dream would come to Tonga, and his push for democracy made a big impact on the people here," Fonua said.
The BBC reported that mourning has begun and that a state funeral is being organized.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince Harry & Camilla Thurlow Getting Serious, St. Tropez Holiday Before The Prince’s 30th Birthday [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Heads to Malta For New Movie After A Whirlwind French Wedding [PHOTOS]
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Chris Martin Getting Serious With Jennifer Lawrence, Actress Joining Coldplay Tour [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Ebola Virus 'Rapidly Mutating' as Research Finds Almost 400 Mutations; International Aid Moves at a Snail's Pace
- MH370 Update: Australians Unveil New Map To Find The Missing Plane
- Family of Accidentally Killed Arizona Shooting Range Instructor Charles Vacca Feels Sorry For 9-Year-Old Uzi Girl
- Shocking Ice Bucket Challenge Video: Man Drenches 10-Month-Old Granddaughter, Video Garnered Angry And Appalled Comments From Viewers
- US Teen Violently Disowned by Family for Being Gay Receives Over $90K Support From Strangers [VIDEO]
- Apple iPhone 6 Actual Release Date after September 9 Confirmed 128GB Variant with New Resolution
- Moto G2 Release Roundup: Specs, Pricing, and Release Date Details
- PlayStation 4 Killing Xbox One Costing Microsoft Millions But It's Fine
- Google Chrome 64-bit for Windows 8 and Window 7 with Mac Beta Available
- Apple iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 L: OS Wars Puts Android to Lower while Apple to Higher
- Nexus 6 on Release Date Confirmed with Phablet-Size Display as FCC Filing Hints of 5.9-Inch Screen
- Google Can Kill Samsung with Android KitKat and Android One: Here's How