Ebrahim Nafae Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Prominent Egyptian journalist Ebrahim Nafae, who was the editor of the leading semi-official newspaper Al Ahram for more than two decades, died early Monday in a Dubai hospital, state media and his family said. He was 83.

He was suffering from cancer and underwent surgery in Dubai, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (mena) reported.

Born on January 12, 1934 in the Egyptian city of Suez, Nafae became the editor of Al Ahram in 1979, a post he held until 2005. He was elected as chairman of Egypt’s independent for more than a decade starting from 1985.

He also chaired the General Union of Arab Journalists from 1996 until 2012.

He interviewed many heads of state and leaders from around the world. He authored several books in Arabic including "Winds of Democracy" and "Years of Danger".

Nafae was close to Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to resign in a 2011 uprising.

Following the revolt, Nafae left Egypt for France for medical check-ups. 

As Nafae’s health deteriorated in recent weeks, several writers called on Egyptian authorities to allow him to return to the homeland without prosecution.

His family said that arrangements are under way to transport his body for burial in Egypt. No specific date has been set for the funeral.