RIYADH // Riyadh governor Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, a half brother of the Saudi king, has died, state news agency SPA reported without saying what caused his death.
SPA quoted a royal statement yesterday as saying that Prince Sattam, who was in his 70s, died yesterday and would be buried in the Saudi capital today. The brief report gave no other details about why and where the death occurred.
Prince Sattam was appointed Riyadh governor after his half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, was named defence minister in October 2011. In June last year, following the death of Crown Prince Nayef, Abdullah named Prince Salman as heir to the throne.
In March last year, Prince Sattam decided to allow single men in Riyadh to visit shopping malls during peak hours, easing restrictions aimed at stopping harassment of women.
Under the rules of succession in Saudi Arabia, power passes from brother to brother, respecting the law of birthright among the sons of the kingdom's founder Abdul Aziz bin Saud.
Prince Sattam was among the most high-profile Saud sons considered as future monarchs.
Prince Sattam is the 30th son of the late King Abdul Aziz, founder of the kingdom. He graduated from San Diego University in 1965 with a degree in business administration.
King Abdullah II's age and frequent hospitalisation raised concerns in the kingdom before he named Salman as his heir. In November, the 88-year-old monarch underwent back surgery to secure a loose vertebra. He had back operations in 2010 and twice in 2011.
*With the Associated Press