Nguon Nhel, First Vice-President of the National Assembly (NA), passed away on November 5 from illness at the age of 79, according to NA spokesman Leng Peng Long.

“The body of His Excellency Nguon Nhel is currently embalmed for a funeral in accordance with Buddhist traditions at his residence in Prek Pra commune's O’Andoung village of Phnom Penh's Chbar Ampov district,” Peng Long said.

Nguon Nhel was one of the Standing Committee members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and also served as head of its Working Group for Kampong Thom province.

According to the Ministry of Information, Nguon Nhel was born on December 22, 1942, to a farming family in Kampong Thom province's Baray district. He had held the position of NA vice-president since 1998.

Hun Many, an NA member representing Kampong Speu province, joined other lawmakers and dignitaries in extending condolences.

“My family and I share the sadness and sorrow with the family of His Excellency Nguon Nhel ... The passing [of Nguon Nhel] is the loss of a brave dignitary who has devoted his life as well as knowledge, soul and courage to fulfilling his task serving the nation and the people,'' he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also extended his condolences to the family of Nguon Nhel, who he said was an outstanding dignitary full of willingness and conscience to serve the nation, religion, and the monarchy in all circumstances.

“[Nguon Nhel] had actively contributed to promoting and upholding the principles and values of the Rule of Law,” he said.