Riyadh: Ghazi al-Gosaibi, a popular Saudi
government minister and poet, died today at age 70, official
Al-Akhbariya television announced.
He died of cancer in Riyadh`s King Faisal Specialist
Hospital, where he had been admitted about a month ago,
members of his entourage said.
Gosaibi, who served as labour minister until his
death, was known as both a technocrat who served four kings
and an author of numerous novels and non-fiction works, in
addition to his poetry.
He was born in Hofuf on March 3, 1940 to a prominent
and wealthy family of traders.
Gosaibi earned a law degree at the University of Cairo
in 1961, a masters at the University of Southern California in
1964, and a doctorate of law at the University of London in
He was Saudi Arabia`s ambassador to Bahrain from 1984
to 1992, and then to Britain from 1992-2002. He was respected
by Saudi progressives for his boldness in pointing out the
problems of conservative Saudi society.
Gosaibi published dozens of books, including essays,
poetry, and love stories, some of which faced bans in his own
country. His best-known novel, "An Apartment Called Freedom"
(1996), chronicled the lives of four young Bahrainis leaving
their family cocoons and plunging into freewheeling, turbulent
1950s Cairo to attend university.