The President of United Arab Emirates (UAE) 🇦🇪, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has passed away at age 73, state news agency reported today.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast, with work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.
The leader had been battling an illness for several years, state media reported.
He had long ceased having involvement in the day-to-day affairs of ruling the country. Instead, his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, was seen as the de-facto ruler and the decision-maker of major foreign policy decisions, such as joining a Saudi-led war in Yemen and spearheading an embargo on neighboring Qatar in recent years.
There was no immediate announcement about a successor, although Mohammed bin Zayed is anticipated to claim the presidency.
Sheikh Khalifa took over as UAE president in November 2004, succeeding his father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.