King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Dies at 90
Abdullah, who had ruled since 2005 and was said to be aged about 90, had been suffering from a lung infection.
His 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, has been confirmed as the new king.
Within hours of his accession to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom, King Salman vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors.
“We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television.
Abdullah had suffered frequent bouts of ill health in recent years, and King Salman had recently taken on the ailing monarch’s responsibilities.
Prior to announcing Abdullah’s death, Saudi television cut to Koranic verses, which often signifies the passing of a senior royal.
A statement said Abdullah had died at 01:00 (22:00 GMT Thursday).
Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
Saudi Arabia under King Salman faces a number of challenges. The first is ensuring the succession passes smoothly without any divisive jockeying for power within the ruling family. Then there is the ongoing threat from jihadists, both at home and across its borders.
Saudi Arabia is now sandwiched between an aggressive Islamic State (IS) to the north and al-Qaeda in Yemen to the south. Saudi warplanes have joined the US-led coalition in air strikes against IS, but this is deeply unpopular with many Saudis.
The government has yet to find a way to cope with mild calls for reforms and is abusing anti-terror laws to silence reformers and punish its critics. Longer term, it faces a growing unemployment problem.
About half the population is under 25 and there are nowhere near enough meaningful jobs for young Saudis.
But the country does at least have oil in its favour. At below $45 a barrel Saudi Arabia is one of the very few exporting countries to still make big margins on production and exploration. That puts it in a powerful position on the world stage. Read more