Norodom Sihanouk, the former Cambodian king who was a key figure through decades of upheaval, has died.
The former king died at a hospital in the Chinese capital, Beijing, after having a heart attack. He had been in poor health for several years.
Sihanouk, who was 89, came to the throne in 1941 and led Cambodia to independence from France in 1953.
Despite long periods of exile and his abdication in 2004 due to ill health, he remained an influential figure.
Sihanouk abdicated in 2004 in favour of his son, King Norodom Sihamoni.
"His death was a great loss to Cambodia," said his assistant and relative Prince Sisowath Thomico. "King Sihanouk did not belong to his family, he belonged to Cambodia and to history."
His body is expected to be returned to Cambodia and go on display for three months in the capital Phnom Penh before an official funeral at the royal palace.
King Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen have flown to Beijing to accompany the late king home.
A statement from China's foreign ministry hailed Sihanouk as a "great friend of the Chinese people".
Japan's top government spokesman said without him "there could not have been success in the Cambodian peace process".
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