The ceremony is expected to draw approximately one million mourners. The remains of the popular leader are to be cremated on a pyre to be built near the royal residence.
Sihanouk had had a history of medical problems with various forms of cancer, diabetes and hypertension which since 2004 had brought him to China in search for medical treatment. In the same year, Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his son, King Norodom Sihamoni.
For many years, Sihanouk had been involved in the political scene of Cambodia, through the country's independence from France and the Cold War. His role was increasingly one of mediator between Cambodia's political factions. However, once the country slowly worked its way towards political stability, Sihanouk's health steadily worsened, leaving his son in power.
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