Thanom Kittikachorn, 92, a military ruler of Thailand who helped the United States during the Vietnam War before being ousted in a popular uprising in 1973, died June 16 at a hospital in Bangkok.
He had been treated at the hospital since Jan. 19 after suffering a stroke, a hospital statement said. He never fully recovered from brain surgery, it said.
Mr. Thanom came to be known as one of Thailand's "Three Tyrants" when he ran the country in the 1960s and early 1970s with his son, Col. Narong Kittikachorn, and Narong's father-in-law, Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien.
The three were driven into exile after a bloody student-led uprising in October 1973. They were accused of nepotism, corruption and ordering troops to fire on protesters in the streets of Bangkok during the uprising. The official death toll in the uprising was 77, with hundreds injured, although many believe the number of dead was higher.
During the Vietnam War, Mr. Thanom's government allowed tens of thousands of U.S. service members to be stationed in Thailand and hosted U.S. air bases from which most bombing of North Vietnam and Laos was carried out.
At the same time, his regime's heavy-handed rule brought it resentment at home. Despite a veneer of democracy, Mr. Thanom's government moved against even mild dissent.
The regime's leaders also allegedly used state funds for their own benefit -- most notably from the official lottery -- and steered contracts to cronies and companies in which they were given stakes.
After Mr. Thanom and his colleagues fell in 1973, the new government seized assets from the three worth about $30 million, believed to have been illegally acquired.
Mr. Thanom, who also held the rank of field marshal and the position of prime minister, was generally seen as the more conciliatory of the three. A dapper, silver-haired man with a cheery grin, Mr. Thanom often served as a peacemaker between opposing political factions.
Mr. Thanom was allowed to return to Thailand in 1976 to serve as a Buddhist monk, sparking new demonstrations by pro-democracy protesters. Many believed his return was meant to set the stage for a counterrevolution.
On Oct. 6, 1976, a massacre of student protesters by police and the army took place at Bangkok's Thammasat University, and a coup installed a new, military-led government. The official death toll was 46, but the total was almost certainly higher, with hundreds injured.
In the past decade, Mr. Thanom made an effort to rehabilitate his image -- arguing that he was not responsible for the 1973 violence -- and sought to recover some property seized when he was overthrown. Praphas died in 1997.
Mr. Thanom and his wife, Chongkol, whom he married in 1931, had a son and a daughter.