Jan. 24 declared national day of mourning on account of Saudi King's demise

New Delhi, Jan. 23 (ANI): India on Friday declared that January 24 will be observed as a day of national mourning on account of passing away of ruler of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin took to twitter to share the news.

"India declares a day's national mourning on 24th January 2015 on account of death of Saudi King Abdullah," he posted.

King Abdullah, who is considered the custodian of the two holy mosques, the al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and the al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, passed away earlier in the day at the age of 90.

The cause of death was not revealed, but Saudi Government officials said that the monarch had been in hospital since December and had been placed on a respirator.

According to a release by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the national flag will be flown at half mast on January 24 throughout the country and no official entertainment shall take place on the day as a mark of respect to the departed dignitary.

The royal court, in an announcement quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the king had a lung infection when he was admitted on December 31 to the Riyadh hospital named for his father, Abdul Aziz.

Succession was swift. Abdullah's brother and Crown Prince, Salman, has been named as the next King of Saudi Arabia in a statement attributed to him on Saudi state television.

King Abdullah, who came to the throne in old age, had earned a reputation as a cautious reformer.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee had both expressed their heartfelt condolences at the demise of the monarch, also sharing their commiserations on their official twitter accounts. (ANI)