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Former ruler of Kuwait dies

/ Source: The Associated Press

Kuwait's former emir Sheik Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah, who ruled this small oil-rich ally of Washington for nine days before being removed for ill health, has died, state television reported.

The station said he died Tuesday in Kuwait City. He was 78.

As crown prince, Sheik Saad automatically became ruler when his distant cousin and then emir, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, died Jan. 15, 2006. But it became increasingly clear that his poor health would not allow him to carry out his new responsibilities.

Sheik Saad's health started deteriorating after he suffered colon bleeding in 1997. When he appeared on television after the death of Sheik Jaber, he was in a wheelchair and could barely shake hands with visitors.

In a historic vote on Jan. 23, 2006, parliament removed Sheik Saad from power because of his health and confirmed the current emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, as ruler.