UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan dies at 73
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died Friday at the age of 73, state media reported.
The big picture: Sheikh Khalifa had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014. His brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, has been considered the de facto ruler of the country since then.
- No successor has been named, but it is widely expected that Mohammed bin Zayed will be appointed to the top post.
Flashback: Sheikh Khalifa was the eldest son of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan.
- He assumed office in 2004 when Sheikh Zayed died. Since suffering a stroke, Sheikh Khalifa had been in poor health.
What they're saying: President Biden in a statement offered his condolences to "Sheikh Khalifa’s family and all Emiratis as they mourn this great loss."
- "We will honor his memory by continuing to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and people of the United States and the United Arab Emirates," Biden said, calling Sheikh Khalifa a "true partner and friend" of the U.S.
- Secretary of State Tony Blinken added in a separate statement: "We mourn his passing, honor his legacy, and remain committed to our steadfast friendship and cooperation with the United Arab Emirates."
What's next: Sheikh Khalifa's funeral will begin Saturday and last three days, the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced.
- There will be a 40-day official mourning period, according to the announcement.
- The rulers of the seven emirates that form the federation are expected to meet and vote on the appointment of the new president in the coming weeks.
- It's only the second succession process in the UAE since the country was founded more than 50 years ago.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with Biden and Blinken's statements.