Throngs of mourners gathered in Mecca early Friday just hours after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died. He was 90.
Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was appointed as the new king, state television reported.
The announcement of Abdullah’s death comes several weeks after the state-run Saudi Press Agency said he was suffering from pneumonia and had been admitted to the hospital.
Services will be held Friday afternoon at the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque in Riyadh, and many world leaders are likely to pay their respects.
Jordan’s King Abdullah cut short his visit to Davos, and is heading to Riyadh, according to a Jordanian government source.
“King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.
“As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship. As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions.”