Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba during their final circling at the Grand Mosque during the annual hajj pilgrimage for this year in Mecca October 6, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Eight Egyptian pilgrims have died in Saudi Arabia in the run-up to the hajj, the Egyptian health ministry stated on Friday, all of natural causes.
The hajj will officially start on Saturday.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the globe travel to Saudi Arabia every year to perform the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Fatalities due to heat exhaustion, fatigue and other natural causes are common; fatal crowd stampedes are also regular occurences due to the volume of traffic along the pilgrimage route.
One of the five major pillars of Islam, the hajj must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who can afford the costly and difficult trip.