United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has passed away.
UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs has sent condolences to the bereaved nation and the Arab world.
“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,” the ministry said in a statement on state media without giving further details.
Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was the second President of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi since 2004.
He was rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014 and his half-brother Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MbZ, has been the de facto ruler of the US-allied UAE, an OPEC oil producer.
Under his reign, the Gulf state has seen development and improved living conditions.
After he was elected as president, he oversaw massive development projects in the UAE, and he wanted prosperity for his citizens.
The late leader also steered the development of the oil and gas sector and desperately sought to diversify UAE’s economy.
The Sheikh was a good listener, fairly modest and he was much loved in the UAE and the region.
Under the constitution, vice-president and premier Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, would act as president until the federal council which groups the rulers of the seven Emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.
-Additional reporting by Reuters