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Norodom Sihanouk

Date of Birth October 31, 1922
Date of Death October 15, 2012
Place of Birth Phnom Penh
Country Cambodia
Official Title King of Cambodia (ស្តេចនៃប្រទេសកម្ពុជា)

Norodom Sihanouk Biography

His Royal Highness Norodom Sihanouk (Khmer: នរោត្តម សីហនុ) was a Cambodian statesman and royal who led Cambodia in various capacities throughout his long career, most often as both King and Prime Minister of Cambodia. In Cambodia, he is known as Samdech Euv (Khmer: សម្តេចឪ, Sâmdéch Âu [sɑmˈɗac ʔɨw]; meaning "King Father"). During his lifetime, Cambodia was variously called the French protectorate of Cambodia (until 1953), the Kingdom of Cambodia (1953–1970), the Khmer Republic (1970–75), Democratic Kampuchea (1975–79), the People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979–93), and again the Kingdom of Cambodia (from 1993). Norodom Sihanouk was the only child born of the union between Norodom Suramarit and Sisowath Kossamak. His parents, who heeded the Royal Court Astrologer's advice that he risked dying at a young age if he was raised under parental care, placed him under the care of Kossamak's grandmother, Pat. When Pat died, Kossamak brought Sihanouk to live with his paternal grandfather, Norodom Sutharot. Sutharot delegated parenting responsibilities to his daughter, Norodom Ket Kanyamom.

  Norodom Sihanouk
King Sihanouk at a parade wearing a lei.

In January 2012, Sihanouk issued a letter in which he expressed his wish that his body be cremated after his death, and his ashes be interred in a golden urn. A few months later, in September 2012, Sihanouk said that he would not return to Cambodia from Beijing for his 90th birthday, citing fatigue. On 15 October 2012, Sihanouk died of a heart attack at 1:20 am, Phnom Penh time. When the news broke, Sihanouk, Hun Sen, and other government officials flew to Beijing to pay their last respects.