Tonga’s King George Tupou V dies

  • Sun Mar 18th, 2012 3:41pm
  • News

Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Tongan media are reporting that the Pacific island nation’s king has died at a hospital in Hong Kong.

The media reports said 63-year-old King George Tupou V died late Sunday. The nation’s government has yet to release a formal statement about the death, although officials have confirmed it to some media outlets.

Tupou had reigned over the Pacific island nation of 106,000 since Sept. 2006, after the death of his father, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV.

Tongan media reports say the king underwent a liver transplant last year and had also been diagnosed with cancer

Radio New Zealand reports that Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka, who is heir to the throne, was at the monarch’s side in the hospital just before he passed away.