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A. Bin Laden, 75; Uncle of Terrorist

April 02, 2002|From Associated Press

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Abdullah Awad bin Laden, patriarch of one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia and uncle of terrorist Osama bin Laden, has died. He was 75.

Abdullah bin Laden died in Medina on March 21 and was buried that day in the holy city in western Saudi Arabia in accordance with Islamic tradition, according to a death notice published in the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

No cause of death was given, although Abdullah bin Laden had high blood pressure and diabetes.

Though he was head of the family, in the last decade Abdullah bin Laden had had little to do with the day-to-day running of the family business, the Saudi bin Laden Group.

Osama bin Laden's father and Abdullah bin Laden's younger brother, Mohammed bin Laden, started the enterprise as a construction firm in the 1930s. The business, which grew to include mining and telecommunications and had $3 billion to $5 billion in annual revenue, is now headed by Bakr bin Laden, one of Mohammed bin Laden's 54 sons.

The bin Laden family disavowed any links with Osama bin Laden in 1994, the year Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship for his opposition activities.

As head of his family, it was Abdullah bin Laden who issued a statement offering condolences to those who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 attacks blamed on Osama bin Laden.

The statement also offered "strong condemnation of this tragic incident of which many men, women and children were victims and which contradicts the teachings of our religion, Islam."

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