King Malietoa Tanumafili II of Samoa died on Friday at the age of 95. The king succeeded the Malietoa title in 1940, when his father passed away. He was made Samoa's joint head of state with Tupua Tamasese Meaole when the country gained independence from New Zealand in 1962, and he became sole head of state a year later when Tupua Tamasese passed away. He was the world's third longest-serving sovereign after Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has reigned since 1946, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended to the throne in 1952.
Many American Samoans considered him to be the father of the two Samoas and he was a frequent visitor to the U.S. territory's annual Flag Day festivities.