Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has died at 90. He had been in a Riyadh hospital since December suffering from pneumonia.The king died at 1 a.m. Friday, and the funeral is set for this afternoon in Mecca.
Abdullah, the force behind OPEC and a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, came to power in 2005 after his half-brother King Fahd died. But he had been the kingdom’s de facto ruler since a stroke incapacitated his brother 10 years earlier. Abdullah was succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, the royal court said in a statement, Agence France-Press reported. Abdullah’s half-brother Moqren was named crown prince.
Abdullah was born in Riyadh in 1924, one of the 49 sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. But he was the only son the king fathered with Abdullah’s mother, who was from a Bedouin tribe.
The king’s death leaves Queen Elizabeth II as the world’s oldest-living monarch. Next month she hits her 63rd anniversary on the throne, and on Sept. 10 she will pass Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch. Victoria is her great-great grandmother.