Saudi defence minister dead (Lead)October 22nd, 2011 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS
Riyadh, Oct 22 (IANS) Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who was minister of defence and aviation and one of the top leaders of the oil-rich kingdom next only to the king, is dead, Saudi and US media reported Saturday.
The Saudi news agency SPA quoted the royal palace as saying that the Crown Prince Sultan died of “illness”. BBC said that he was in his eighties and was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004.
US broadcaster CNN first reported the death, citing an unidentified US State Department source.
Crown Prince Sultan was one of the top figures in the oil-rich kingdom.
The royal court in a statement Saturday said: “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud mourns the death of his brother and his Crown Prince … Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.”
The statement also said he died “outside the kingdom following an illness”.
He had various health issues in recent years. He had been in the US since June and underwent an operation in July, said Xinhua.
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