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Saudi King Abdullah, a visitor to Rochester, dead at the age of 90

Saudi King Abdullah, a visitor to Rochester, dead at the age of 90

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who died early Friday at the age of 90, made a visit to Rochester in November 2008.

The king spent about four days in town to receive treatment at the Mayo Clinic. He had already been visiting the country to attend a U.N. interfaith dialogue conference in New York and a G-20 economic summit in Washington, D.C.

Officials, both locally and nationally, revealed very few details about the visit. But the king's private planes, security detail and two full floors at the Kahler Grand Hotel made it quite clear someone powerful was in town.

As many as 800 people made the visit with the king, according to an archive from KTTC-TV. That's larger than the entire city of Dover.

King Abdullah will be remembered as a reformer who was able to stand strong while other autocratic rulers in the Middle East were taken down in the Arab Spring. During his time, he also modernized the economy and strengthened ties with the U.S.

However, the New York Times notes Abdullah's greatest legacy may prove to be a scholarship program that sent tens of thousands of young people to study in Western schools.

It has been suggested that the changes long resisted by conservative forces — resistance that even a king could not overcome — would one day come about as those men and women rose in the government, industry and academia.
— NY Times

Abdullah’s brother, Crown Prince Salman, has assumed the throne. NBC News reports Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit the new leader in the "coming days."


(Cover photo: June 2014 / U.S. Department of State)

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