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Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Dead

Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in an undated photo
Saudi Arabia has announced that Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the heir to the Saudi throne, has died.

The Saudi royal court, in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA, said Sultan had "died at dawn" on October 22 in a foreign country "following an illness."

The report said funeral services will be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 25.

The brother of King Abdullah, who was thought to be in his mid-80s, had been in the United States for medical treatment since June.

For the past 40 years, Crown Prince Sultan has served as defense minister of the world's top oil-exporting country.

A strong supporter of ties with the United States, he had promoted large Saudi purchases of U.S. arms.

Reports say that with his death, the new heir to throne becomes Interior Minister Prince Nayef.

compiled from agency reports