Thousands of mourners lined roads to the airport in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh as the aircraft touched down Wednesday. The 89-year-old Sihanouk died in Beijing, where he had been receiving medical treatment since January.
The body is expected to be transported to the Royal Palace, where it will lay in state for three months, during which time the public can pay respects before it is cremated according to Buddhist ritual.
Sihanouk was the last surviving Southeast Asian leader who pioneered his nation through postwar independence. He served twice as king before abdicating the throne for good in 2004.
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