Islam Times: Crown Prince Sultan was a central figure in Saudi decision-making since becoming defense minister in 1962.
“With deep sorrow and sadness King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, mourns the death of his brother and his Crown Prince Sultan ... who died at dawn this morning Saturday outside the Kingdom following an illness,” said the statement carried on Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and state television.
Crown Prince Sultan’s health had declined in recent years.
King Abdullah is now expected to call to session the Allegiance Council to appoint the crown prince. The Allegiance Council was set up in 2006 soon after Abdullah became king, and is tasked with voting to approve the King’s choice of crown prince or nominating its own choice instead.
Prince Naif has been Interior Minister since 1975 and was appointed second deputy premier in 2009, a position usually given to the man considered third in line to rule.
Saudi television broke its schedules early Saturday to broadcast Qur’anic verses accompanied by footage of the Holy Ka’ba in Makkah.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon in Riyadh at Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Mosque, SPA said.
Crown Prince Sultan is survived by a number of children; they include Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, Deputy Defense Minister, and Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, former ambassador to the United States who now heads the National Security Council.
King Abdul Aziz founded the Kingdom more than 70 years ago.
Since his death in 1953, Saudi Arabia has been unified, stabilized and modernized by his illustrious sons. The founder had over 40 sons. So far five brothers have become kings and around 20 are serving the land of the Two Holy Mosques in key positions.
Like the late King Fahd, Crown Prince Sultan was born to King Abdul Aziz from his wife HessaBint Ahmad Al-Sudairy. Among her other children are Prince Naif and Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, the Emir of Riyadh region.