A 40-day state mourning period was announced in the UAE after President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has died on Friday, May 13, at age 73. He was the Gulf country’s second president, serving since 2004, and is credited with helping to bring the UAE. The work at all ministries, departments, and federal, local and private entities was suspended for three days. Since becoming the president of the UAE, as a pro-Western moderniser, Sheikh Khalifa has presided over a major restructuring of both the federal government and the government. He steered the development of the oil and gas sector and the downstream industries “The Emirates lost its righteous son, the leader of the ‘empowerment stage’ and the trustee of its blessed journey… His stances, achievements, wisdom, giving and initiatives in every corner of the country,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet.
Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in 2014. Since the health issue, he became largely ceremonial though he still issued decrees. Sheikh Khalifa was the oldest son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s founder. Before assuming the presidency, he was crown prince of Abu Dhabi and head of Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. The world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, was named after him in 2010. At President Khalifa’s death, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Sheikh Khalifa “as a true friend of the United States”, adding that the US remains committed to its steadfast friendship and cooperation with the UAE.