The official Emirate News Agency, WAM, has announced the death of the President of the United Arab Emirate, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Sheikh Khalifa who has been described as one of the richest monarchs in the world died at the age of 73.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs mourns to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday, 13th May, 2022, wishing Allah Almighty grant him eternal peace and the UAE people patience and solace,” WAM announced.
The Monarch became the second UAE president in 2004 (18 years ago) and succeeded his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi.
However, reports have it that Sheikh Khalifa’s role had become merely ceremonial since 2014 when he got struck by a stroke.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that the late president’s half-brother, Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, has taken charge of state affairs.
While serving as UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa was also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, which is the oil-rich capital of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
As such, the al-Nahyan family is believed to be one of the richest families in the world, with about $150bn (£123bn) worth.
The ministry of presidential affairs has declared 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast from Friday, while works have been suspended in the public and private sectors for the first three days.
“The UAE will observe a forty-day national mourning with the flag flown at half-mast starting today, the ministry announced, adding that work will be suspended at all ministries, departments, and federal, local and private entities for three days.”