Mahmoud Ahmad, Arab News
Published — Wednesday 9 May 2007
Last Update 9 May 2007 3:00 am
JEDDAH, 9 May 2007 — Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal, the eldest son of King Faisal and former chairman of Al-Ahli Club, died yesterday at the age of 85 following a prolonged illness, the Royal Court announced. Funeral prayers for the late prince were held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah last night. Crown Prince Sultan took part in the funeral prayers along with a large number of Saudis and expatriates.
A great poet and staunch supporter of sports, Abdullah was appointed the minister of interior and health in 1950. He later left his government job to devote his time to business and cultural activities. He had received a number of international honors including an honorary doctorate degree in humanities. Born in 1922, Abdullah became an important figure early in his life, acquiring a great deal of political and administrative experience. He served as viceroy of the Hijaz and deputized as foreign minister for his father during the latter’s trips abroad. He served as minister of health from 1949 to 1950 and in the Interior Ministry from 1951 to 1959.
Abdullah played a big role in developing Al-Faisaliah Group as one of the Kingdom’s most diversified business firms and in the formation of the King Faisal Foundation, which distributes the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Service, Islamic Studies, Arabic Language & Literature, Medicine and Science. Prince Abdullah’s first collection of poems, Min Wahye Al-Haramani (Inspiration from the Two Holy Mosques), was published in 1953, and the second entitled “Talk from the Heart” in 1983. Ahmed Al-Marzouki, chairman of Al-Ahli Club, expressed his deep sorrow at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal’s death and conveyed his condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and other members of the royal family. He praised Prince Abdullah’s achievements in sports and literature. “He played a big role in developing Al-Ahli Club into a citadel of sports in the Kingdom,” Marzouki said.