Kuwait, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- The Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah died at 91 years old in the United States, over two months after being hospitalized, the Kuwaiti government announced on Tuesday.
“With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn to the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world, the death of the late His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait who moved next to his Lord,” the state-run KUNA news agency cited the Royal Court as saying.
Al-Sabah was hospitalized on 18 July for medical checkup; KUNA said at the time, a day before announcing that the Kuwait ruler had undergone a successful surgery without providing more details.
On 23 July, al-Sabah arrived in Washington for medical treatment according to the Royal Court, which did not reveal the health problems the emir struggled with.
Before traveling to the United States, he temporarily delegated some of his powers to the Crown Price, his brother Nawaf al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah.
Al-Sabah, born on 16 June 1929 in Kuwait city, served as foreign minister for 40 years, which gave him an experience as mediator in the frequent regional conflicts.
On 29 January 2006, three years after serving as prime minister, he became the 18th ruler of the small oil-rich country.
His accession to the throne was controversial as he was not next in line after the death of Jaber Al Sabah, but was appointed by Parliament after an alleged family feud with Saad Al Sabah.
Saad had been named Emir on 15 January 2006, but about two weeks later Parliament appointed the then prime minister, Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, as the new head of state, apparently because of the poor health of the former.
During his tenure, the emir suffered several health crises although his ailments have never been revealed by the Royal Court, which has considered them mere “setbacks” and occasional admissions to hospitals, both at home and abroad.