The 84-year-old King Salman of Saudi Arabia has been taken to hospital for a reported gall bladder inflammation according to the Saudi Royal court.
Announcing the move on Monday, leading media sources around the world were initially taken aback; any comment on the health of the aging monarch is seen as a rare occurrence in the Middle Eastern nation.
King Salman was “admitted today to King Faisal specialist hospital in Riyadh for some medical tests due to cholecystitis,” an official missive by the royal court said when released to the official Saudi Press Agency in the capital Riyadh.
Under King Salman’s five and a half year reign following the death of his brother, Abdullah, Saudi Arabia has started to move through a period of economic reform to help in any move to a ‘post-oil’ era.
Observers also see it as a time that the kingdom will increase and enhance the rights of women.
His majesty’s hospital admission comes at a time he was to host a visit by the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi – a visit now postponed until the king has recovered and been discharged according to Saudi authorities.
“In recognition of the extremely important visit and a desire to make it a success, our wise leadership in coordination with our brothers in Iraq have decided to postpone the visit,” Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan wrote on his Twitter account about the postponed visit.