Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died early Friday morning.Reuters

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who died early on Friday, 23 January, was the sixth absolute monarch of the Kingdom, and unlike his predecessors, he was known as a reformer who welcomed progress.

Being the cautious reformer, King Abdullah was an ally of the United States and many Western countries. Thus, it came as no surprise when, along with scores of mourners that gathered in Mecca early on Friday, many world leaders also expressed their condolences.

The White House issued a statement on behalf of the US President Barack Obama, in which he expressed his personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and to the people of Saudi Arabia.

Elaborating on why King Abdullah was a great leader, he said that the late King had seen Saudi Arabia through its birth to what we know it today; he went on to mould it into a critical force within the global economy and a "leader among Arab and Islamic nations". President Obama also mentioned how his bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative would retain King Abdullah's legacy as the mascot of peace in the Middle East. He was also keen on educating the people of his country, recalls the US President.

"I always valued King Abdullah's perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship," President Obama further said. He concluded the statement with a note on how his convictions led to the close partnership between Saudi Arabia and United States. "The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah's legacy."

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden tweeted that he would head the delegation of Americans that is going to Saudi Arabia: "VP Biden will lead a Presidential delegation to Saudi Arabia to pay respect and offer condolences to King Abdullah's family & nation."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed him as a guiding force of Saudi Arabia, also expressed his sadness at the death of the King in a series of tweets: "In King Abdullah, we have lost an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country. I condole his demise...Our thoughts are with the people of Saudi Arabia, who have lost a guiding force in King Abdullah, during this hour of grief....A few days ago I spoke to Crown Prince Salman & enquired about King Abdullah's health. News of King Abdullah's passing away is saddening."

BBC quotes British Prime Minister David Cameron as saying, King Abdullah would be remembered for his "commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths".

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee also took to Twitter to mourn King Abdullah's passing away. He wrote: "Heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Saudi Arabia over the sad demise of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia...In King Abdullah ' s passing, Saudi Arabia had lost a beloved leader, India a close friend and world, an elder statesman..." He added that the King had a genuine "warmth and affection" for the people of India and that he was committed to improving bilateral ties between the two countries. 

"Received the sad news of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz's passing this morning. My condolences to the Saudi royal family & the people of KSA," tweeted Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote on Twitter, "King Abdullah was a man of wisdom & vision. US has lost a friend & Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Middle East, and world has lost a revered leader."

Al Arabiya quotes an Elysee Palace statement, which states France relates that King Abdullah's "vision of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East remains more relevant than ever." The statement went on to say, "The head of state expresses his sincere condolences to the Saudi people and expresses his commitment to the friendship between France and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". 

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