The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away today, Abu Dhabi's Ministry of Presidential Affairs has announced. The UAE's Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced a 40-day period of mourning and a three-day suspension of work in all ministries and the private sector beginning today, including flags to be flown at half-staff.
The ruler had been battling illness for several years and had long ceased having involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the kingdom. At that time his brother, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, has been the de-facto ruler. There was no immediate announcement about the successor.
Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was appointed ruler of the Emirates in 2004. He succeeded his father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the kingdom's first president after becoming independent in 1971.