ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died aged 73 on Friday, According to the sources he was battling illness for several years.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs has mourned to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan,” the official WAM news agency tweeted.
The ministry announced 40 days of mourning, with flags at half-mast from Friday and work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.
Sheikh Khalifa took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the richest of the federation’s seven emirates.
He has rarely been seen in public since 2014, when he had surgery following a stroke, although he has continued to issue rulings. The cause of death was not immediately released.
The bearded Sheikh Khalifa had cut a frail figure on his occasional public appearances, while his Mohammed bin Zayed hosted world leaders and led diplomatic forays abroad.
“The Emirates has lost its virtuous son and leader of the ‘stage of empowerment’ and the trustee of its blessed journey,” Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted on Friday.
“His stances, achievements, wisdom, generosity, and initiatives are in every corner of the nation.. Khalifa bin Zayed, my brother… may God have mercy on you and grant you access to paradise.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan too tweeted condoling the death of the UAE President, stating that Sheikh Khalifa always kept cordial relations with Kerala.
“Deeply saddened by the passing of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who has always kept cordial relations with Kerala. He was a visionary leader who played a key role in modernizing the Emirates. His contributions will be remembered forever,” tweeted Mr. Vijayan.
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