UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has died at age 73

The President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, passed away on Friday May 13, 2022, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced. In this 2013 photo, he is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Dais on April 30, 2013 in Windsor, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ⁠— United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan has passed away at age 73, state news agencies said Friday.

Sheikh Khalifa was the Gulf country’s second president, serving since 2004. He is credited with helping to bring the UAE, a small desert sheikhdom of seven emirates, to global prominence and leading the country through turbulent times during the 2008 financial crisis.

“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 statement from state news agency WAM read.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs also announced that the UAE will observe a forty-day state mourning with the flag flown at half-mast starting today, and suspend work at all ministries, departments, and federal, local and private entities for three days,” the news agency wrote in a tweet.

Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in 2014; he has rarely been seen in public in the years since. His role subsequently became largely ceremonial though he still issued decrees, and his brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, has widely been seen as the UAE’s de-facto ruler, managing the country’s day-to-day affairs.

Born in 1948 in Abu Dhabi, 23 years before the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa was the oldest son of Sheikh Zayed, the country’s founder. Before taking up the presidency, he was crown prince of Abu Dhabi and head of Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council, the oil-rich emirate’s highest energy decision-making body.

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(With Inputs from cnbc)

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