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UAE President Sheikh Khalifa has died: official media

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File photo taken on December 20, 2004 of the United Arab Emirates’s President Sheikh Khalifa Zayed al-Nahyan attends the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Manama. – AFP photo

ABU DHABI (May 13): The United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Khalifa Zayed Al-Nahyan died aged 73 today, state media said, after battling illness for several years.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE and the Islamic world… on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa Zayed Al-Nahyan on Friday, May 13,” the official WAM news agency said.

The ministry announced 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast from today, with work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.

Sheikh Khalifa took over as the UAE’s second president in November 2004, succeeding his father as the 16th ruler of Abu Dhabi, the federation’s richest emirate.

He has rarely been seen in public since 2014, when he had surgery following a stroke, although he has continued to issue rulings.

His brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Zayed, has been seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler in recent years. – AFP