ITHACA, N.Y. -- David K. Wyatt, a Massachusetts native who was a leading authority on Southeast Asia and widely recognized as the foremost historian of Thailand, died Tuesday at a retirement facility near the Cornell University campus, where he taught and worked for 36 years. He was 69.
Mr. Wyatt had suffered from multiple sclerosis for several years and had been living in a nursing home for the past year.
At Cornell, he served as director of the Southeast Asia Program, chair of the history department, and the John Stambaugh Professor of History and Asian Studies before retiring in 2002. He briefly served as interim curator of the Echols Collection at Cornell University in 2005.
Mr. Wyatt was born in Fitchburg, Mass., in 1937. He studied philosophy at Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1959. He received a graduate degree in history from Boston University and a doctoral degree from Cornell in 1966.
His dissertation became the 1969 book "The Politics of Reform in Thailand."
His many books include, "Thailand: A Short History," which for many years has been the standard for textbooks on Thai history.