James Ford's post today, in the Monkey Mind blog at Patheos, on a recent visit to the site of Thomas Merton's death, includes this local angle.
"On the 10th [of December, 1968] he was attending a monastic conference at the Red Cross retreat at Sawang Kaniwat in Samut Prakan, Thailand. After giving a talk in the morning, in the afternoon his body was found in his room with a fan lying across his body. The conference organizer Rembert Weakland, then abbot primate of the Benedictine order anointed the body. The body was returned to Merton’s home, Gethsemani Abbey, outside of Louisville. There was no autopsy."