14 May 2007

Thousands of Samoans expected to pay last respects to late head of state

3:29 pm on 14 May 2007

Thousands and thousands of Samoans are expected to pay their last respects to the late head of state, his Highness Malietoa Tanumafili the second, later this week.

Malietoa died on the weekend, in his mid 90's, after 45 years as head of state.

Many Pacific leaders have been paying tribute, describing Malietoa as the father of modern Samoa and a man of great integrity and compassion.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says a state funeral is planned for the end of the week but Malietoa's body will lie in state on Thursday in parliament grounds so people can pay their respects.

"That's the opportunity for everyone to come and pay their last respects to the late head of state. And, that's why he will be laying in state and parliament house for 24 hours."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia.