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Saudi Arabia’s aging King Salman admitted to hospital for ‘examinations’

Kingdom rarely publicizes details on health of 86-year-old monarch, who has ruled the oil-rich country since 2015

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, Saudi King Faisal walks with a cane as he leaves King Faisal Specialist Hospital with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, and entourage, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March, 16, 2022. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, Saudi King Faisal walks with a cane as he leaves King Faisal Specialist Hospital with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, and entourage, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March, 16, 2022. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s aging King Salman has been admitted to hospital for unspecified tests, state media reported Sunday.

The kingdom has generally sought to quell speculation over the health of the 86-year-old monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and the Arab world’s biggest economy since 2015.

He entered King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the coastal city of Jeddah on Saturday “to conduct some medical examinations,” according to an official report, citing a royal court statement.

“May God preserve the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and may he enjoy health and wellness,” the statement said.

It is rare for the secretive kingdom to report on the health of the monarch.

King Salman underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder in 2020.

He was most recently hospitalized in March, for what state media described as “successful medical tests” and to change the battery of his pacemaker.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia dismissed reports and mounting speculation the king was planning to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler.

However, he has already empowered Prince Mohammed to lead day-to-day affairs.

Since his elevation to power, Prince Mohammed has upended the kingdom with dizzying social reforms, sidelined royal rivals, and cracked down on perceived opponents, sparking controversy.

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