Sheikh was the second president of the UAE and the Monarch of Abu Dhabi.
The United Arab Emirates’ long-time President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed has passed away. He was the second president of the UAE and was aged 73 at the time of his death. Sheikh was also the monarch of Abu Dhabi’s emirate.
The news of Sheikh Khalifa’s death was announced by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs on Friday, 13th May. The details surrounding the death of the monarch are scarce and the reason for his death is yet to be disclosed. Sheikh had been rarely seen in public after he suffered from a stroke in 2004.
Here is everything we know about it so far:
Who Was Sheikh Khalifa?
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was born on September 7, 1948, in Abu Dhabi and was the eldest offspring of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father and the major driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates.
Sheikh graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and took the position of President after his father who was the first president of the UAE for about 33 years. He became the Emir of Abu Dhabi on 2nd November 2004 and also became the president of the UAE the next day.
Sheikh was reportedly the richest monarch in the world and he handled $875 billion in assets as the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority which is the largest amount ever handled by a nation’s leader. The Burj Khalifa was also named after Sheikh after he saved Dubai from a financial crisis by giving them $10 billion to pay off their debts.
In the year 2014, Sheikh suffered a stroke but was later reported to be in stable condition. However, ever since then, Sheikh kept a low profile in all the affairs of the state, and his half-brother Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the de facto ruler of the state ever since. Sheikh however still retained his ceremonial presidential powers.
On Friday 13th May, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced the death of the President. The state news agency Wam published a statement that read: “The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation, and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE.”
An official mourning period of 40 days has been declared by the Ministry and the flag will be flown at half-mast for 40 days starting Friday. Sheikh is expected to be succeeded by his half-brother Sheikh Mohamed as the next ruler of Abu Dhabi.