Dubai, May 13 (EFE).- The emir of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, died Friday at the age of 73, the Emirati state news agency WAM reported.
“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs mourns to the UAE people, Arab and Islamic nations and the world the death of President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, who passed away on Friday,” the department said in a statement released by WAM.
The statement, which did not provide details of Khalifa’s death, said the ministry has announced a 40-day official mourning period when national flags will be flown at half-mast.
The ministry also announced the suspension of work in all public institutions and private companies from Friday.
Born in 1948, Khalifa assumed the presidency of the country in 2004 after the death of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, a man who united the seven emirates that make up the UAE and managed to coordinate its transformation from a desert country into a stable, rich oil state with the most dynamic economy in the region.
Khalifa followed in his father’s footsteps and led the implementation of numerous modernization and development projects, in addition to investments of billions of dollars until 2014, when he suffered a stroke.
Although authorities assured at the time that his condition was “stable”, the Sheikh disappeared from the political and international scene, and hardly appeared in public, ceding those tasks to his half-brother, Mohamed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi since 2004, who in recent years became the strongest figure in the UAE and de facto leader of the country. EFE