“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs mourns the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic countries and the whole world. The leader of the nation and the patron saint of his march, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, passed away today, Friday, May 13, at the side of the Lord,” WAM said.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announces an official mourning and flags will be flown at half-mast for the late His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on him, for a period of 40 days beginning today, and suspension of work in ministries , departments, federal and local agencies and the private sector for 3 days starting today (Friday), “WAM said in a tweet.
Sheikh Khalifa’s role has been largely ceremonial since he suffered a stroke and surgery in 2014. His brother and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, is widely regarded as the de facto leader of the UAE, doing day-to-day business for the Gulf state.
Sheikh Khalifa was appointed as the second president of the UAE in 2004, succeeding his father and founder of the nation, Sheikh Zayed al Nahyan.
Born in 1948 in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed. Before becoming president, he was Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and headed the Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council, which sets oil policy.
As president, he headed one of the largest investment funds in the world, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which managed hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.
One of the world’s tallest buildings, the Burj Khalifa, got its name after the UAE government bailed Dubai from its debts, and as a sports fan, he supported the takeover of English Premier League football club Manchester City.