BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The international society on Monday expressed condolences over the death of former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, who died early Monday at Beijing Hospital.
Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed his condolences over the death of Sihanouk, saying the death of Sihanouk, who led Cambodians to independence, national reconciliation and peaceful development, was a huge loss to the Cambodian people.
Sihanouk was a great friend of the Chinese people and had contributed much to the strengthening of the friendship between the two peoples, Hu said.
Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a message to Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, expressing condolences over the passing of Sihanouk and saying he would live in the hearts of the Chinese people and the Cambodian people forever.
Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and top political advisor Jia Qinglin also sent condolence messages to senior Cambodian leaders over the former king's death.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his "deep condolence" to the Royal family, government and people of Cambodia on the passing away of Sihanouk, acknowledging "King Sihanouk's long dedication to his country and his legacy as a unifying national leader who is revered by Cambodians and respected internationally."
In a statement issued by his spokesman, the UN chief hoped that the legacy of the former King would allow Cambodia to advance the national healing process, including through continued commitment to justice.
The U.S. government voiced its condolences and sympathy on the death of Sihanouk.
"The United States expresses its sympathy on the passing of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
The European Union (EU) expressed its condolences for the death of Sihanouk, saying he "was a well respected leader and a key figure in Cambodia's recent history" and "the EU will continue to stand by Cambodia."
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also voiced his condolences over the death of Sihanouk, saying he "built a foundation for friendship" between Japan and Cambodia, and his death was "a great loss to the international society and in particular to our country."
Sihanouk died early Monday morning in Beijing at the age of 90. The body is set to arrive in the Cambodian capital on Wednesday afternoon.
Born on Oct. 31, 1922, Sihanouk reigned Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 till his voluntary abdication on Oct. 7, 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni.