He was a small dictator only in that his nation was not a huge economic power. In all other ways he was huge….
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Tongan King Tupou IV dies aged 88
King Tupou’s death was reported late on Sunday at Auckland’s Mercy Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment since April.
A formal announcement is expected from the Lord Chamberlain, Fielakepa, on Monday.
King Tupou took over the monarchy after the death of his mother, Queen Salote, in 1965 and began modernising the archipelago’s education system and infrastructure.
He became famous as the world’s heaviest monarch, at over 200 kg (440 lb), but in the 1990s headed a national keep fit campaign and shed a third of his weight.
Correspondents say in later years the king became increasingly eccentric and isolated, getting involved in a series of failed business ventures.
His autocratic tendencies prompted pro-democracy demonstrations two years ago attended by almost 10% of the country’s population.