Updated with online condolences and Diwan’s statement
With reporting from Nada Badawi
Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani has died at the age of 84, the Emiri Diwan announced tonight.
Three days of national mourning will be observed in honor of Sheikh Khalifa, who was the grandfather of the current Emir, QNA reports.
This means that any special events are likely to be canceled and flags will fly at half-mast on public buildings.
However, the Government Communications Office has confirmed that schools and workplaces will remain open as normal. They did the same when three days of mourning were declared after Saudi Arabia’s king died last year.
In its statement, the Diwan said:
“May Allah have mercy on his soul and make his residence paradise, and grant him the best reward for what he achieved to his homeland and nation. HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ordered three days of public mourning across the country.”
It did not give further details about the circumstances of the former Emir’s death.
Funeral prayers are expected to be held tomorrow.
Life of Sheikh Khalifa
Sheikh Khalifa ruled Qatar for 23 years, from 1972 until 1995. He was then ousted in a bloodless coup by his son Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (the Father Emir) while on holiday in Switzerland.
He lived in France until he returned to Qatar 12 years ago.
Sheikh Khalifa was born in Al Rayyan in 1932 and served as the country’s education minister before becoming deputy Emir.
He was named as Heir Apparent in October 1960. That decade, he also served as Qatar’s prime minister and minister of finance.
He took power in 1972 after succeeding his cousin and just a year after Qatar gained its independence from the United Kingdom.
— Reem Al-Harmi ريم الحرمي (@Reem_AlHarmi) October 23, 2016
Many people in Qatar and abroad are extending their prayers for the former Emir tonight under the hashtag الشيخ_خليفه_بن_حمد_في_ذمه_الله# (Sheikh Khalifa is under the protection of God).
يامن قلت يوماً أهلاً بالجميع في دوحة الجميع ، اليوم دوحة الجميع وكل من فيها يدعون لك بالمغفرة
— لولوه آل ثاني (@l_althani) October 23, 2016
Translation: You who once said you welcome everyone in “everyone’s Doha,” today “everyone’s Doha” and everyone in it are praying to God to forgive you.
Very sad to hear of passing of former Emir of Qatar Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, may he RIP #الشيخ_خليفه_بن_حمد_في_ذمه_الله
— Ghanem Nuseibeh (@gnuseibeh) October 23, 2016
أحد الآباء المؤسسين لمجلس التعاون الخليجي .. تغمده الله بواسع رحمته .. تعازينا لأهلنا في #قطر
— عبدالله النعيمي (@AbdllahAlneaimi) October 23, 2016
Translation: One of the founding fathers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). May God have mercy on him. Our condolences to our family in Qatar.