Success and dreams along, UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed dies at age 73

Hazel Clayton
2 min readMay 14, 2022

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, died on Friday at the age of 73, according to state broadcaster WAM. His modernizing initiatives helped develop his country into a regional superpower. “The people of the UAE, Arab and Islamic nations, and the entire globe mourn the passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, to the Lord’s side today, Friday, May 13,” WAM added.

“For the late His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on him, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announces an official mourning period of 40 days, beginning today, and suspending work in ministries, departments, federal and local institutions, and the private sector for three days, beginning today (Friday),” WAM said in a tweet. Since suffering a stroke and undergoing surgery in 2014, Sheikh Khalifa’s position has been mostly ceremonial. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, his brother and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, is largely seen as the UAE’s de-facto leader, administering the Gulf state’s day-to-day affairs.

Sheikh Khalifa became the UAE’s second president in 2004, succeeding his father, Sheikh Zayed al Nahyan, who founded the country. Sheikh Khalifa was Sheikh Zayed’s eldest son, born in 1948 in Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Region. He was the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the head of Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council, which determines oil policy, before becoming president. He led the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest investment funds, which manages hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.

One of the world’s tallest buildings, the Burj Khalifa, took on his name after the UAE government bailed Dubai out of its debt, and as a sports fan he supported the acquisition of English Premier League soccer club Manchester City.