Chea Sim, the long-serving president of the ruling CPP and president of the Senate, whose health had been in decline for more than a decade, died on Monday. He was 82.
Chea Sim, who along with Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin had been a figurehead of the ruling party since the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, died at his home on Monday afternoon, according to Yim Leang, the head of his bodyguard unit.
“Samdech Chea Sim died at 3:45 p.m. at his home,” Mr. Leang said.
Once one of the most powerful politicians in Cambodia, Chea Sim has largely stayed out of public life in recent years.
Chea Sim was born in November 1932 in Svay Rieng province, where he studied at a Buddhist temple and was eventually recruited into the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party in 1959, according to the Historical Dictionary of Cambodia.
A military commander under the Khmer Rouge, Chea Sim fled to Vietnam in 1978 and was among the founding members of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea, the Vietnam-backed group that toppled Pol Pot in 1979.
Chea Sim was first elected as the president of a reformed CPP in 1991. In April, Mr. Hun Sen announced that he would replace Chea Sim as the party’s president when he died.