RIYADH, 26 July — Prince Fahd ibn Salman, the eldest son of Riyadh Governor Prince Salman, died yesterday following a heart attack, the Royal Court announced. He was 46. Funeral prayer will be held at Imam Turki ibn Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh today after Asr prayers, the Royal Court said.
Prince Salman, who was vacationing in Spain with his family, rushed back home after hearing the news. Condolences will be received at Prince Salman’s palace in Maazer, the Royal Court said.
Prince Fahd has worked as deputy governor of the Eastern Province and an adviser at the Interior Ministry. Born in Riyadh in 1955, he finished school at the capital’s Model Institute and had his university education in the United States. The prince received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California.
Prince Fahd was popular as the deputy governor of the Eastern Province, especially during the Gulf War when he met with senior officials and commanders of the allied states who joined forces to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
The late prince had played an active role in a number of charitable, medical and social organizations. He was the board member and secretary-general of the Charitable Society for Kidney Patients. Prince Salman is the society’s chairman.
“We are a Muslim society, love one another and work together for the welfare of other people and bring happiness to them,” he told Al-Jazirah in a recent interview while talking about the charity. “I feel happy when I do something for the pleasure of others,” the prince added. Prince Fahd had annaounced that he wanted his organs, especially kidneys, to be donated to those who needed them after his death. Prince Fahd was very active when he was the deputy governor. Sources close to the prince said he could be seen one day at the King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals, in Aramco the next day, and at a SABIC firm on the third day.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the occasion of the opening of King Fahd Causeway, Prince Fahd said the causeway reflected the brotherly relations between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Prince Fahd was appointed as deputy governor of the Eastern Province on 11/6/1406H and resigned the job on 4/11/1412H. “Iraq occupied Kuwait when I was vacationing with my father in Spain,” the prince said in a recent interview. Later during a dinner with some British friends in London, he told them that Saudi Arabia would not leave Kuwait to remain under the Iraqi occupation. He then rushed to Dammam.
Prince Fahd also disclosed the role played by Eastern Province Governor Prince Muhammad ibn Fahd to convince Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to enter the Kingdom as the emir insisted he would stay in the border town of Alkhafji.
The Kuwaitis still remember the generous support given to them by the prince at the time of Iraqi occupation. He was present to receive them when they arrived in the Kingdom through the Nuwaiseb, Raqae and Salmi land passages, fleeing Iraqi forces.
Prince Fahd was instrumental in meeting the requirements of Kuwaiti refugees. “I saw him conducting field visits to every street in Alkhobar after an Iraqi air attack to make sure that life was normal,” the source said.
During the war, Prince Fahd also met with more than 3,000 journalists who had come from all over the world to cover the event. After Kuwait was liberated, he extended all possible efforts to ensure the safe return of the Kuwaitis to their homeland.
When Saudi journalists led by Khaled Al-Maeena, editor in chief of Arab News, and including reporters of Saudi Research & Publishing Company’s publications decided to enter Kuwait along with allied forces, Prince Fahd provided them with all facilities and support.
Prince Fahd’s humanitarian services are well known. “People still recall the case of a Qatif woman who had lost her family. When the prince came to know about her tragedy, he visited her house to inquire about her condition,” one source said.
The woman was surprised to see the prince when she opened the door and said: “There is nothing unusual about this gesture from you, being the grandson of King Abdul Aziz.”
Prince Fahd used to visit a number of hospitals in the Eastern Province when he was the deputy governor to know conditions of patients and provide them with the necessary care and support. He also visited orphanages and rehabilitation centers for the handicapped.
Prince Fahd pursued his higher studies in the United States for six and a half years. “First I went with my brother Prince Sultan to California for an English language course. Then we went to Tucson in Arizona as the course at the California University did not impress me,” he told ART television in an interview. He spent about a year in Tucson.
He said he left the job of deputy governor due to personal reasons. “The governor, Prince Muhammad, refused to accept my resignation and the late Prince Faisal ibn Fahd tried to talk me out of it for two hours while we were in Jeddah.”
Prince Fahd had been a lover of horses since his childhood. “I used to ride horses in Malaz when I was eight,” he told ART. He started participating in equestrian races after he bought a horse from his brother Prince Ahmad in 1980. He said his participation in equestrian races gave him an opportunity to meet with international luminaries, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
Prince Fahd’s horses won in many international events, including the English Derby and Oaks and Irish Derby. His horse was also named the best in the United States.
Prince Fahd had visited several countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Pakistan. He visited Pakistan in connection with a charitable society named after his mother.
About two years ago, he visited Kuwait at the invitation of Emir Sheikh Jaber and met with Kuwaiti royal family members and high-ranking officials who accorded him a grand reception.