King Hussein of Jordan, a pivotal figure in the tortuous politics of the Middle East, died of cancer on Sunday after a turbulent 47-year reign — which began when he was 17. He was succeeded by his eldest son Abdullah, 37, who was formally sworn in at a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament less than four hours after his father’s death. Tributes to King Hussein as a statesman and peacemaker and pledges of support for Jordan poured in from around the globe, and dozens of world leaders, including President Clinton and former Presidents Bush, Ford and Carter, attended his funeral, which was held immediately after Moslem prayers on Monday afternoon. “Hillary and I are deeply saddened,” said Clinton. “I had prayed this day would not come soon. But God has called King Hussein to his reward. The prayers of all Americans go out to the royal family and the Jordanian people.”

  • Hussein’s widow, Queen Noor, the American-born Princeton graduate who was his fourth wife, is expected to stay in the kingdom. Her aides say Noor, 47, has “embraced Jordan as her own home” and is not contemplating a return to the U.S. Analysts say Noor, who converted to Islam when she married Hussein in 1978, has a personal stake in Jordan’s future. She is said to have hopes that her eldest son, Hamzah (now 18), will one day assume the kingdom’s Hashemite throne.