Bhumibol Adulyadej (Royal Institute: Phumiphon Adunyadet; Thai: ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช, pronounced ( listen); see full title below; born 5 December 1927) is the current King of Thailand. He is known as Rama IX (and within the Thai royal family and to close associates simply as Lek). Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. He was admitted to Siriraj Hospital in September 2009 for flu and pneumonia and has been confined there since. Rumors about his ill-health caused Thai financial markets to tumble in October 2009.
Although Bhumibol is legally a constitutional monarch, he has made several decisive interventions in Thai politics. He was credited with facilitating Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s, although he has supported numerous military regimes, including Sarit Dhanarajata's during the 1960s and the Council for National Security in 2006-2008. During his long reign he has seen over 15 coups, 16 constitutions, and 27 changes of prime ministers. He has also used his influence to stop military coups, including attempts in 1981 and 1985.
Bhumibol is revered by many Thais, despite what the Thai government claims are serious threats to overthrow the monarchy. Bhumibol is legally considered "inviolable", and insults, claims that he is involved in politics, and criticism of him can result in three to fifteen years in jail, though he claimed in his 2005 birthday speech that he would not take lèse majesté seriously.