CAIRO (UPI) -- Mohammed Reza Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the ousted shah of Iran, died Sunday, it was officially announced. He was 60.
The former shah, confined to the Maadi hospital by the banks of the Nile for the past four weeks in the latest of a long series of illnesses, suffered a fever relapse Saturday and died early Sunday.
The former occupant of the Peacock Throne had been plagued by illness since the fundamentalist Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Rhuollah Khomeini toppled him and forced him into "temporary" exile in Jan. 16, 1979.
He had been treated in the United States, Mexico and Egypt for cancer and a variety of other ills. He had been operated on twice in the past month for an abscess in the upper abdomen.
He underwent surgery for the removal of a cancer-infected spleen on March 28, four days after he arrived in Egypt -- his first refuge after he fled Iran -- from his exile island off the coast of Mexico.
The former shah had gone from Egypt to Panama, was treated in the United States, went to Mexico and finally to Egypt.
His admission to the United States for treatment worsened the situation of 53 American hostages seized when Iranian militants took over the United States embassy in Tehran. The major condition for the release of the hostages, now 52 in number, always has been the return of the shah to Iran, presumably to stand trial for alleged "crimes" committed while he was on the ancient Iranian throne.
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi ranked for nearly four decades as one of the world's wealthiest, most autocratic and -- in some eyes -- most glamorous man.
"When there is a revolution in Iran it will be I who will lead it," the shah said in 1967.
But a little over a decade later, a year of savage street riots forced him into exile, ending a monarchy he traced by 2,500 years, and clearing the way for the return of the 78-year-old Ayatollah Khomeini from 14 years in exile.
In a final attempt to restore calm, the shah named one of his top political opponents as prime minister. When that failed, he and Empress Farah took refuge abroad.
In his last days the once-glamorous shah was a frail, gaunt shadow of the one-time international playboy who ruled 35 million people.
The playboy image stemmed from the days when he married the glamorous Soraya in the 1950s and posed with her on skiing holidays in Switzerland. His glamorous third wife, Farah Diba, went into permanent exile with him.
With the Empress Farah, he presided over annual international film festivals meant to show off his country's strides toward modernization, although they more often revealed the chaos modern Iran had become.
In 1971, the shah, born a commoner, played host to international royalty at what well may be history's costliest party: a $60 million celebration of the 2,500th birthday of the Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great.
The shah's troubles were physical as well as political.
Anti-shah Iranians in Iran and elsewhere, including the United States, reacted angrily to the presence of the shah in the United States and the Khomeini regime demanded his extradition.
On Nov. 4, militant Iranians seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 63 American hostages in demanding the extradition of the shah. The U.S. government made it known it would not extradite the shah and a crisis developed that is yet unresolved.
While the shah was under treatment in New York, Mexico, where he found asylum, refused to let him return, creating a new problem. Egypt once more offered him haven but the shah instead took advantage of an offer to live in Panama. On Dec. 2, he left New York for Panama by way of a U.S. Air Force base in Texas.
While in Panama it was made known the shah had cancer of the spleen and wanted the organ removed. He refused to undergo the operation at a Panama hospital and on March 23, 1980, left the isthmus for asylum in Egypt. On March 28 the spleen was removed in a successful operation by a team headed by Dr. Michael DeBakey, famed Houston surgeon.
The shah developed pneumonia early in June. By the end of the month an operation was necessary to drain fluid that had accumulated at the bottom of the shah's left lung. A team of Egyptian and French surgeons performed the operation at Cairo's Maadi military hospital, inserting a tube through an incision between two of the shah's ribs to the lung.
During the past four weeks, the shah had been confined to the Nileside Maadi hospital.
On Friday, his temperature soared to an alarming 104 degrees. Doctors brought the fever down to between 99.5 and 100.4 Saturday, but baffled by his sudden turn for the worse, gave him an extensive examination. They were unable to explain the sudden rise in his temperature, and declared him in "stationary" condition.
Sunday, his condition again worsened and he died.
Not even Iran's new Islamic regime has any idea how much wealth the shah exported abroad for personal use. His accounts with Swiss, American or other banks were never disclosed. The main channel through which he and his family exported wealth was the Pahlavi Foundation, a so-called charity whose holdings in Iran and abroad were estimated at $20 billion.
With the shah at the plane's controls, the imperial family flew into exile Jan. 16, 1979, first to Aswan, Egypt, at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. There they crossed paths with former President Gerald Ford, then on a Middle East tour.
A few days later the shah went to Morocco as a guest of King Hassan.
On March 30 he flew to the Bahamas' Paradise Island. There he broke public silence April 13 to say he was "shocked and horrified" by the Khomeini regime's executions of "Iranians whose only crime was love of country and will to serve its people."
"Executions without democratic trials and inhumane treatment gain nothing for the people of Iran," his statement said.
On April 19 it was reported that President Carter had informed the shah he would not be welcome in the United States until U.S. relations with Iran's new regime had stabilized. The message was relayed over the objects of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and banker David Rockefeller, both friends of the shah who had angrily refused Carter's requests to deliver it personally.
The shah's life was publicly threatened April 26 when Yasser Arafat ordered his Palestinian Liberation Organization to capture the deposed ruler and deliver him to Iran's revolutionary government.
"We hope to have the honor to arrest the shah," said Hani al Hassan, chief of the PLO office in Tehran, in a Tehran newspaper interview. "If he had not left Morocco when he did, we would have caught him already."
Al Hassan said the shah's arrest had been ordered by Arafat himself and would fulfill "one of the great desires of the Ayatollah Khomeini."
In early May one of Iran's leading ayatollahs said anyone was free to kill the shah and no country would have the right to arrest that person. The statement, which drew international criticism, was followed by a Tehran newspaper's offer of an expense-paid pilgrimage to the Moslem holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to any successful assassin of the shah.
On June 10, the day after his Bahamas visa expired, the shah and his family flew to Mexico City and moved into a rented villa in Cuernavaca, 30 miles south of the capital. Kissinger immediately visited him and former President Richard Nixon flew in July 13 for a meeting with his old friend.
Those close to shah found him deeply dispirited, frustrated that the nation he led for 38 years did not grasp his master plan for making Iran the Middle East's dominant power.
He had said Iran would become the fifth most powerful country in the world, with solar and atomic energy supplementing its oil and gas, with education going to the most remote villages by satellite. With U.S. cooperation, he continued to build the most powerful military machine in the Middle East.
He led the oil-producing nations in quadrupling oil prices in December 1973 and embarked on a dazzling series of development schemes, but found the fledgling democratic movement an obstacle.
In March 1975, a year after he launched a $68 billion development program, the shah banned all political parties and created a new one dedicated to "the great civilization." In the process he throttled even feeble voices of dissent.
Insulated in his palaces, the shah went ahead with plans to speed industrialization. With vast infusions of oil money, inflation soared and corruption caused a near collapse of the nation's power generation network.
The shah appointed a new premier, Jamshid Amouzegar, to fight the problems but there were calls for a complete change of system. Lawyers demanded restoration of liberties, and students rioted at Tehran University.
A massive confrontation between anti- and pro-shah sides in September resulted in martial law.
The monarch's friends insisted he was unaware until very late of the threat to his survival.