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Cambodians gather for funeral of late King Norodom Sihanouk

Tens of thousands of Cambodians have gathered in Phnom Penh for the start of a lavish funeral for former King Norodom Sihanouk, who who died of a heart attack in October at age 89.

Tens of thousands of Cambodians have gathered in Phnom Penh for the start of a lavish funeral for the late King Norodom Sihanouk, who died in Beijing in October, at age 89. Since his death in October, King Sihanouk's body has remained in state at the Cambodian Royal Palace.

Sihanouk, a father of 14, was crowned in 1941 and served as king for six decades, overseeing a rare period of political stability after his nation's independence from France, before civil war and the emergence of the murderous Khmer Rouge.

He was toppled by a US-backed coup in 1970 and exiled to China. He regained the throne in 1993, but abdicated in 2004 due to illness, leaving the throne to his son.

The prime ministers of China and Thailand — as well as other world leaders — are expected to attend the cremation ceremonies on Monday, Feb. 4.