Fahd Said To Be Improving, Full Recovery Expected
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ King Fahd appeared on television Tuesday, apparently seeking to reassure his countrymen that the leader of the world’s largest oil producer is not seriously ill.
The monarch could be seen smiling and chatting with royal family members in his suite at Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital.
The film, which lasted about a minute, was broadcast by the state-run TV network during its main newscast, at 9 p.m. It had been made earlier in the day.
The king’s voice could not be heard but the king appeared relaxed though he kept adjusting his white headdress. He was sitting in an armchair with a cane by his side.
It was the king’s first public appearance since he was hospitalized Thursday with what the Royal Court described as a ``temporary health emergency″ caused by exhaustion from overwork.
Last week a team of U.S. doctors was flown in to Riyadh to treat him, prompting speculation the king is seriously ill.
However a source said that Fahd suffered an attack similar to a fainting spell. Doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery, the source said on condition of anonymity.
Fahd was born in 1923, but the exact date is not known. That makes him 71 or 72. He is overweight and for years has suffered from diabetes and arthritis. He has cut down on traveling because of his health problems.
Fahd became king of Saudi Arabia in 1982. The country is the world’s leading oil exporter, producing 8 million barrels a day.
Fahd chose his half-brother Abdullah as his successor when he became king. The crown prince is presently in Muscat, Oman, taking Fahd’s place at the annual summit of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, which opened Monday.