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King Of Tonga

March 20, 2012 by staff 

King Of Tonga, Tonga’s King George Tupou V, 63, who gave up most of his powers to bring a more democratic government to his Pacific island nation, died Sunday at a Hong Kong hospital.

Tongan Prime Minister Lord Siale’ataonga Tu’ivakano said in a radio address Monday that the king died at 3 p.m. Sunday during a visit to Hong Kong. He didn’t give a cause of death, but said further details and funeral plans would be released when available.

The prime minister said the king’s younger brother and heir to the throne, Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka, was at the king’s side when he died.

Paula Mau, a spokesman for the Tongan government, said the king underwent an operation in the United States last year to remove cancer.

King Tupou reigned over the island nation of 106,000 since his father, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, died in 2006. The father long resisted ceding any powers of Tonga’s absolute monarchy during his four-decade rule. But after his death, rioters unhappy with the pace of reforms took to the streets and destroyed the center of the capital, Nuku’alofa.

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