Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud died Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland. Prince Nayef was 78 and the second crown prince to die in the past eight months, according to the New York Times. The country's reigning monarch, King Abdullah al-Saud, is 88 and a new heir to the throne has yet to be chosen. The funeral was a day later.
What were the circumstances behind the death?
Prince Nayef died of a heart ailment after recently undergoing bypass surgery. The Crown Prince was in Geneva on an extended vacation since late May. He was seen on Saudi TV meeting with a fellow cabinet minister two days before Prince Nayef died.
What was America's reaction to Prince Nayef's passing?
The White House issued a statement calling the Crown Prince a "strong and effective" leader against terrorism. President Barack Obama praised the "partnership" that developed between the United States and Saudi Arabia during Prince Nayef's time as interior minister.
How was Prince Nayef's health in recent years?
According to the Saudi government, the interior minister received medical treatment in the U.S. in June 2011. He was in Geneva on a medical holiday when Prince Nayef died after years of declining health.
How was Prince Nayef related to King Abdullah?
Prince Nayef was part of the close-knit group of seven sons of King Abdul Aziz known as the "Sudeiri Seven." Seven brothers were born to Hassa al-Sudeiri who was one of the monarch's favorite wives. King Abdul Aziz declared his sons would be crowned the king of Saudi Arabia before the next generation ascends to the leadership. The current monarch is a son King Abdul Aziz and half-brother to Prince Nayef, according to PBS.
What did Prince Nayef do in the Saudi government?
The Saudi government proclaimed Prince Nayef as the "Crown Prince" in late October. He was named deputy premier as a part of the king's inner circle of advisers in 2009. The late heir to the throne served as Saudi Arabia's interior minister. The man oversaw charities in Saudi Arabia. One of his duties was to dismantle organizations that gave money to terrorist networks. AFP News reports Prince Nayef served 37 years in the capacity of interior minister. Before he was interior minister, Prince Nayef was the governor of Riyadh in 1953, then rose to become a deputy minister by 1970, according to the International Islamic News Agency.
Who will be next in line to the throne?
Prince Salman, who served as governor of Riyadh from 1963 to November, will likely be the next Crown Prince. He is 77 and became the country's defense minister upon the death of Prince Sultan in October. Prince Salman is also one of the "Sudeiri Seven." The so-called "allegiance council" will select the successor among a group of 35 senior princes.
William Browning is a research librarian.