The deputy ruler of the emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has died at the age of 75.
Sheikh Hamdan, also the UAE’s finance minister, was the brother of the current ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Hamdan had been unwell for a few months.
On Wednesday, 24 March, Sheikh Mohammed posted a picture of his brother saying: “We belong to God and to him we shall return. May God have mercy on you, my brother, my support and my companion.”
Born on December 25, 1949, Hamdan was the second son of late ruler Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
He grew up in what was known as the Trucial States, a collection of Arab sheikhdoms along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf that had been part of a British protectorate since 1820.
Sheikh Hamdan held the post of finance minister since his appointment in the first cabinet in 1971 upon UAE’s formation by the late ruler, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan.
He is credited with turning Dubai into a world centre of trade and business and led Emirati delegations to the International Monetary Fund and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for international development.
Sheikh Hamdan controlled a wide array of conglomerates reaching Dubai’s economy, such as the Dubai Ports Authority, Dubai World Trade Center and Dubai Natural Gas Company Limited.
Like his brother, he became a big name in horse racing out of the UAE, founding Shadwell Racing in 1981, an operation with a legacy of producing star thoroughbreds.
His funeral service will be restricted to the family because of Covid-19, according to Dubai’s government-run media office, which ordered government offices closed for three days of mourning.