Fans bid farewell to actor Sorapong in royally-sponsored cremation

Fans bid farewell to actor Sorapong in royally-sponsored cremation

Fans bid farewell to actor Sorapong in royally-sponsored cremation
Duangduen Jithaisong stands by a picture of her husband, the late actor Sorapong Chartree, at the Somdej Phra Putthajarn Foundation, widely known as Wat Sorapong, in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima province on Sunday. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Fans have been flocking to a temple built by Sorapong Chartree to pay their last respects to one of the country's greatest and most-loved actors.

People started queuing in the early afternoon for antigen testing outside the Somdej Phra Putthajarn Foundation in Pak Chong district before they were allowed to go inside the premises to bid a final farewell to Sorapong.

The Somdej Phra Putthajarn Foundation in Pak Chong, widely known as Wat Sorapong, is the temple built by the former actor, a devout Buddhist throughout his life.

Somsri Klaopho, 60, from Chokchai district in Nakhon Ratchasima province, was among the fans determined to send off her beloved actor, and promised to follow his example of doing good deeds.

"I was very sad due to the loss of Soraphong. A good person like him is hard to find," said Ms Somsri, who was at the temple with about 10 friends.

"I promised to make merit here more often to carry on what Sorapong has done," she added.

Sorapong, whose real name was Kreepong Thiemsawet, died at the age of 71 on March 10 after battling lung cancer for five years.

The national artist was one of the most celebrated actors in the country with more than 500 dramas and movies to his name, including the much-acclaimed Plae Kao (Old Scar) that propelled him to international fame.

His devotion to the religion started in his childhood when he was ordained as a novice monk in his home province of Ayutthaya at just eight years old. He remained in saffron robes from  in 1957 until 1969, and then left the monkhood to start an acting career.

His wife, Duangduen Jithaisong, said the royally sponsored cremation had been well prepared and she said she and all admirers would carry on the foundation to fulfill the goal set by the actor.

"I am doing the best I can as a woman, a wife and a partner for the preparation of this royally-sponsored cremation," she said.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the ceremony at 6pm.

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