Saudi state TV says King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington's fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom has died. He was 90.

The TV station said Abdullah died Friday.

His expected successor is his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman, who recently has taken on the ailing Abdullah's responsibilities.

The announcement came in statement read by a presenter on Saudi state TV, which aired video of worshippers at the Kaaba in Mecca.