Saudi Heir to Throne Dies
Crown Prince Abdel Aziz al Saud was king's half-brother
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2011 5:41 AM CDT
Saudi Arabia's crown prince Sultan Bin Abdel Aziz in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
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(Newser) – Saudi Arabia's crown prince has died of colon cancer, but the country is expected to have an orderly process to figure out who is next in line to the throne, reports the BBC. Crown Prince Abdel Aziz al Saud was 85, according to the AP, and he reportedly died at a New York hospital. He is the half-brother of Saudi King Abdullah, 87, who set up a family council a decade ago to determine who moves up. The best bet looks to be Prince Nayef, the 78-year-old interior minister and another half-brother.

Abdel Aziz had been minister of defense and aviation since 1983, overseeing a deep-pocketed modernization of the nation's armed forces. He had been one of the Sudairi Seven, a powerful group of men with one thing in common—they are the sons of Saudi Arabia founder King Abdul-Aziz and his most influential wife, Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi, notes the BBC. However the succession shakes out, friendly relations with the US are not expected to change.