Paramount Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons of Koror State passed away yesterday, at 1:55 pm Palau time while in hospital in Taiwan announced Bilung Gloria Salii, his sister and chief matriarch of Koror. Sirens blared ten (10) times last evening announcing his passing according to cultural tradition. The ten siren blares represent his 10 final breaths, explained Oukerdeu Patrick Tellei yesterday. “Ng debsechel a olengtengtel a telil a Ibedul, el teruich el debusech. Ng di tal Ibedul a teruich a debsechel,” reported Oukerdeu Patrick Tellei.
Chief Ibedul was referred to Taiwan for medical treatment. According to reports from reliable sources, he collapsed on Wednesday and was put on life support, and yesterday at around 1:55 pm Palau time, he passed away. Chief Ibedul Gibbons was 77 years old.
The paramount chief is probably one of the longest-reigning chiefs of Koror assuming his title at age 29, and passing way at age 77, serving as High Chief of Koror for 48 years, nearly half a century.
In the period of his reign, Palau had gone through turbulent times, where he had taken leadership in some of the major challenges Palau faced including the fight to keep Palau nuclear-free.
Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons had demonstrated his leadership by clearly expressing his opinions over the years on important matters affecting not only his State of Koror but also Palau as a whole, such as his staunch support for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary and his opposition to the gambling initiatives that have been cropping up time and time again.
Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons served in the US Army with the rank of Specialist 5 before he was recalled home to assume his title in 1975.
He is survived by his numerous children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews and relatives. Details of his interment will be reported later.