UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away today (May 13), the Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced.
The Ministry mourned the President's death, wishing Allah Almighty to grant him eternal peace and the UAE people patience and solace, said a Wam news agency report.
The ministry also announced that the UAE will observe a 40-day state mourning with the flag flown at half-mast starting today, and suspend work at all ministries, departments, and federal, local and private entities for three days.
As the first son of the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh Khalifa succeeded his father as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and became the President of the UAE in November 2004.
Sheikh Khalifa (born on September 7, 1948) was also the Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He has also served as the Chairman of the Supreme Petroleum Council since the late 1980s.
Since becoming the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa has presided over a major restructuring of both the Federal Government and the government of Abu Dhabi. Under his reign, the UAE has witnessed an accelerated development that ensured decent living for the people calling the country home, said a report in Khaleej Times.
Sheikh Khalifa steered the development of the oil and gas sector and the downstream industries that have contributed successfully to the country's economic diversification.