As news broke of Saleh's death on Monday, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, called for a pause in the fighting in Sanaa, noting that dozens of people had reportedly been killed and hundreds injured, including civilians.
BBC World Service journalist Mai Noman said: "Saleh's death: shocking not just bec he ruled #Yemen for over 30yrs, he's been the key player in every major event even after being ousted".
The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015 and later expanded into ground operations.
Warfare between the erstwhile allies has torn densely populated Sanaa for days, with Houthi fighters seizing control of much of the capital and on Monday blowing up Mr Saleh's house.
He was forced from power in late 2011 after mass protests inspired by the Arab Spring, and handed power to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his vice president.
In a live television address last night President Hadi, the country's officially recognised leader, called on...
Saleh and the Shi'ite Muslim Houthis had made common cause against Hadi loyalists.
The Yemeni Interior Ministry approved the killing of Ali Abdullah Saleh. This week's fighting reportedly left aid workers trapped inside a building and unable to administer support to civilians.
Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi, meanwhile, hailed the death of his former ally, congratulating Yemenis "on this historic, exceptional and great day in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed". After a short exile in Saudi Arabia he returned to the country, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.
On Sunday, Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted that the uprising against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels "needs support" in order "to protect the Arabian Peninsula from Iran".
Saleh's loyalists have lost ground on the sixth day of heavy urban warfare with the Houthis during which the death toll has jumped to at least 125 with 238 wounded, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"They stormed the TV channel and Al Yemen Al Youm newspaper headquarters and arrested some of my colleagues and started storming our residences", Al Yarrisi said. The Houthis appeared to be targeting the homes of Saleh's family, political allies and commanders in this most recent round of fighting.
"The decision by (Saleh's) General People's Congress to take the lead and their choice to side with their people will free Yemen of ... militias loyal to Iran", the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.