Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, died at the age of 73 on Friday.

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs confirmed the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and offered condolences to the United Arab Emirates, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the people of the world.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been the President of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Abu Dhabi since November 3, 2004.

He was elected successor to his father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served as the first president of the UAE since the Union in 1971 and died on 2 November 2004.

Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa was the second president of the United Arab Emirates and the 16th ruler of the UAE Abu Dhabi. He was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed.

After becoming President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa reorganized both the federal government and Abu Dhabi.

During his rule, the UAE developed rapidly and ensured a dignified life for those who called the UAE their home.

After being elected President, Sheikh Khalifa launched the first strategic plan of the UAE government to achieve balanced and sustainable development, with the well-being of the citizens and residents of the UAE taking precedence.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs also announced that the UAE will observe a forty-day state of mourning beginning today, with the flag flying at half-mast, and suspend work for three days at all ministries, departments, and federal, local, and private entities,” the news agency wrote in a tweet.

Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014 and underwent surgery; since then, he has been rarely seen in public.

His role became primarily ceremonial after that, and his brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, is widely regarded as the UAE’s de-facto ruler, overseeing the country’s daily operations.

As President of the United Arab Emirates, his main goal was to follow in his father’s footsteps, and on one occasion he said that his father’s legacy would “guide us to a prosperous future where security and stability reign.”

Sheikh Khalifa promoted the development of the oil and gas sector and small industries which successfully contributed to the economic diversification of the country.

He made extensive trips throughout the UAE for the welfare of the UAE, during which he directed the construction of a number of projects related to housing, education, and social services.

In addition, he took the initiative in developing a system of nominations for members of the Federal National Council, which was seen as the first step toward holding direct elections in the UAE. Sheikh Khalifa was known for his keen interest in public affairs.

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