The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has been confirmed dead.
The death of the 73-year-old UAE leader was confirmed on Friday in a statement by the state media which also declared the commencement of forty days of mourning.
Sheikh Khalifa who took over as the country’s leader in 2004 has been battling sickness for many years and has not been publicly active since 2014.
“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,” a WAM news agency said in a statement.
As part of the mourning process, flags have been directed to fly at half-mast from Friday, with work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.
Born 7th September, 1948, Sheikh Khalifa is the eldest son of his father and was the second President of the UAE and the 16th Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. He took over from his father, Sheikh Zayed.
Under his leadership, the UAE has grown and attracted world recognition due to the accelerated development it has witnessed.
Sheikh Khalifa’s brother, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, has been seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler in recent years.