The heir to the Saudi monarchy has died, less than a year after being named the Crown Prince.
Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz died in Geneva, Switzerland where he was receiving medical treatment. He was 78 years old.
“It is a shock. We are knew his health was frail but his death is a shock,” Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nogali told CNN. “We still don’t know the reason behind his death.”
Nayef served as Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia for 37 years, and was involved in counterterrorism efforts in the oil rich kingdom. He became deputy premier in 2009.
The Crown Prince was also known for being a hard-lined conservative who disagreed with some of King Abdullah bin Abulaziz’s reform efforts.
Nayef became the heir after the death of Crown Prince Sultan back in October.
His body will be flown to Jeddah Sunday, and there will be afternoon prayer in Mecca before he is buried.
In recent years, his son, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, was seen taking more of the reigns from his father as Interior Minister.