The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is dead.
Newsbreak reports that Sheikh Nahyan died on Friday, aged 73.
Sheikh Khalifa’s role had been largely ceremonial since he suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in 2014. His brother and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, has been widely seen as the de-facto leader of the UAE, handling day-to-day affairs for the Gulf state.
The late president was born in 1948 in the inland oasis of Al Ain, near the border with the sultanate of Oman, and named after his great grandfather, Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbout.
In 1969, while the area was still a British protectorate, Khalifa was named as Abu Dhabi prime minister and chairman of the emirate’s Department of Defence, which later became the core of the UAE’s armed forces. After independence in 1971, he became defence minister along with other roles., and became president in 2004.
Condolences started pouring in from Arab leaders including Bahrain’s king, Egypt’s president and Iraq’s prime minister.
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