Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has died at age 90, state television reported early on Friday, with his brother Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz succeeding him as the new ruler of the world's top oil exporter.
King Salman, 79, immediately appointed his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir, a move seen to avert widespread speculation about the path of the royal succession.
State television said King Abdullah, who took power in 2005 after the death of his brother King Fahd, died of pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital on December 31, state media reported at the time.
President Barack Obama expressed condolences and saluted the late king's commitment to close U.S.-Saudi ties.
"As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions," Obama said in a statement. "One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond."
"The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah's legacy," the statement added.