Riyadh- Ending a distinguished half a century of journalism, veteran Saudi journalist and former editor-in-chief of Al-Riyadh newspaper Turki Al-Sudairi passed away Sunday morning.
Sudairi, 73, died after a long battle with illness.
For his part, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz made a call to the deceased’s family, voicing his deep condolences.
As the news spread across the region, a large number of princes, officials, ambassadors and notable media personalities came forth with their deepest sympathies.
Information Minister Dr. Awwad bin Saleh al-Awwad also offered his condolences to Sudairi’s family.
With nearly four decades to his record guarding Al-Yamamah Press Establishment’s ‘Al-Riyadh’ newspaper, Sudairi is the longest-serving editor in any Saudi, Gulf or Arab publication. He also held the position of chairman of the Saudi Journalists Association.
“The departure of Turki Sudairi is a real loss to media in the region,” Saudi-born British businessman, journalist and editor Osman al-Omeir said.
“It is difficult to talk about a dear friend who accompanies us throughout our professional journalistic life,” al-Omeir told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Despite the relative age difference, I considered the late Sudairi my mentor. He corrected my writings when I was working with him in sports journalism, an area we both were passionate about,” Omeir added.
Gaining recognition throughout his career, Sudairi was given the title “The King of Journalism” by the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
Born in the Saudi town of Alghat, 260 km northwest of Riyadh, Sudairi spent the majority of his early childhood alongside mountains, plains and sand, only to later on move in with his brother in Riyadh, receiving his education there.
Sudairi, at young age, devoted both time and effort to reading remarkable literatures authored by Tawfiq al-Hakim, Manfalouti, Youssef Sibai, Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Russian writer Alexander Pushkin.
A vast number of international novels played an important and active role in the making of the illustrious journalist and writer.
In addition to his creative and distinguished sports reporting and analogies, Sudairi’s professionalism was further embellished by timeless interviews with high-ranking political figures and officials he conducted.
Sudairi’s column titled Leqaa or “Meeting” spread his influence beyond the Arab world, becoming a window for the outside world to see the developments and successes taking place in Saudi Arabia and other Arab societies.
He became a Saudi reference as organizations like Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times interviewed him for his Saudi and regional insights.
Sudairi’s name is forever etched in the memory of regional journalists. He will be remembered as a persevering and committed professional known for his creative professionalism and genuine writing style.