Saudi Arabia's 84-year-old ruler King Salman was admitted to hospital in Riyadh Monday (July 20th) for gall bladder inflammation, the royal court said, prompting the postponement of the Iraqi prime minister's high-profile visit.
It is rare for Saudi Arabia to report on the health of the monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and the Arab world's biggest economy since 2015.
The king was "admitted today to King Faisal specialist hospital in Riyadh for some medical tests due to cholecystitis", inflammation of the gall bladder, the royal court said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The announcement did not disclose any further details.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi's scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia, which was due to start Monday, has been postponed after the king's hospitalisation, according to the Saudi foreign minister.
"In recognition of the extremely important visit and a desire to make it a success, our wise leadership in co-ordination with our brothers in Iraq have decided to postpone the visit" until the king leaves hospital, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a social media post.
Hours before Kadhemi was to set off on his first trip abroad as premier, his office said they heard King Salman was suffering from "a sudden health issue".
"It was decided to postpone the visit to the earliest possible date agreed upon by the two sides," his office said in a statement.
Iraq's oil, finance, electricity and planning ministers arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to begin meetings ahead of Kadhemi's visit. The delegation is set to return to Baghdad after the meetings wrap up on Monday afternoon.