Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud had been suffering from colon cancer for some time. He is thought to have been in New York when he died, early October 22, 2011, having undergone surgery in July of this year. Recently he had been undergoing medical tests in the US.
In spite of his advancing years and ill health Crown Prince Sultan was minister of defence and aviation in Saudi Arabia. It is "closed shop" as far as politics and free thinking goes it appears. His role as heir apparent looks set to be filled by 78-year-old Prince Nayef.
However, with all of the leading lights of the family in their seventies or eighties it is not clear what will happen in the not too distant future of Saudi Arabia. RIP