Kuwait City: Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad passed away at 91, the Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan, Sheikh Ali Al Jarrah Al Sabah, announced on Kuwait TV today.
Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006 and steered its foreign policy for more than 50 years.
"With the utmost sadness and grief for the Kuwaiti people, the Islamic and Arab world and people of friendly nations, the Emiri Diwan mourns the death of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait," his office said.
The State of Kuwait declared an official mourning for a period of 40 days and the closure of official departments for a period of 3 days from today.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Anas Al Saleh in an exeptional Parlaiment session said that Emir passed away at 4:00 am in the United States
The Emir was admitted to hospital on July 18 for medical checks and then, a day later, underwent a successful surgery. On July 23, the Emir was flown to the United States to complete his medical treatment. The Emir’s office did not disclose the reason for the surgery or details of what treatment the Emir was going to receive in the US.
The Emir's body will arrive in Kuwait on Wednesday, state TV reported on Tuesday, citing the Amiri Diwan.
National Assembly Speaker, Marzouq Al Ghanim, said: "The National Assembly will hold a special session on Wednesday at 11am (12pm UAE time), during which Sheikh Nawaf will take the constitutional oath in accordance with Article 60 of the Kuwaiti constitution."
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, condolded the Emir's passing. He tweeted: Our sincere condolences go to the Al-Sabah family and the people of Kuwait. Sheikh Sabah epitomised wisdom, tolerance, and peace and he was a great pioneer of Gulf cooperation. He served Kuwait with honor and grace, and his work will never be forgotten. May God have mercy on him.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted: "May God have mercy on the compassionate father of Kuwait..and the beating heart of the Gulf."
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Dubai Executive Council, tweeted as well, saying: We will miss an exceptional leader, leaving a legacy of generosity and humanity."
The Saudi royal court said in a statement that the kingdom's leadership and Saudi people share in their grief with the state of Kuwait and "brotherly Kuwaiti people.'' The statement said the emir passed away after a journey full of achievement and generous service to his country and humanity as a whole.
In Lebanon, where the late Kuwaiti leader played a key role in trying to end the country's ruinous 1975-90 civil war and later helped with its reconstruction, politicians also offered their condolences.
"With the death of Sheikh Sabah, Lebanon has lost a great brother who stood by the Lebanese during the difficult circumstances over the past years,'' said a statement from President Michel Aoun.
The US Ambassador to Kuwait Alina Romanowski called Sheikh Sabah a "popular leader and special friend of the US''. The US Embassy in Kuwait said he "devoted his life to peace and regional stability.''
A statement issued from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi expressed great sadness'' over Sheikh Sabah's death, recalling the long-standing "fraternal stance'' of the emir toward Egypt. He ordered Egypt's flag lowered to half-mast for three days.
Jordan's royal court announced a nationwide 40-day mourning period, with the country's King Abdullah II mourning the loss "of a great brother and wise leader who loved Jordan.''