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His Highness Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has died. Inna Lillah wa Inna Elehi Rajoon (We are of God and To God Shall we return)

He was 62 years old.

A statement from the Ministry of Presidential Affairs confirmed that His Highness died earlier this morning.

The President of the UAE, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, mourned the death of Shaikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The statement added that the UAE had lost a historical leader from its leaders who dedicated his life to building the country, and strove to do his best for its people.

The statement added that Shaikh Maktoum was a generous and giving man whose memory will be ingrained in the consciousness of the nation.

The official mourning period will last for 40 days, when all UAE flags will fly at half mast.

Ministries and government organisations will be closed for seven days.

Shaikh Maktoum died in Australia.

A Man of Simplicity (Gulf News)

When it comes to Shaikh Maktoum, one fact that many would attribute to him is his character and personality, more so than historical dates and events, even though they hold great significance.

History is always carved by individuals of calibre. It is such individuals who play a role in shaping and defining actions that leave an imprint. One such individual is the late Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He will be remembered not only as a man of kindness and generosity but also as a witness to crucial junctures in the history of the UAE in general and Dubai in particular

It is impossible to pay tribute to Shaikh Maktoum without mentioning that his years as a Ruler were intertwined with the history of the formation of the United Arab Emirates. In fact, throughout his life, Shaikh Maktoum was a witness and a key player in the development of Dubai and the UAE federation.

The first exposure to one of the elements to leadership was in 1958 when he delivered a public speech at the ceremony marking the accession of his father, the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Shaikh Maktoum was only 15 years old then and the occasion must have been a memorable event for him as it marked the beginning of forging the future of the emirate under the rule of the late Shaikh Rashid. In the 1960s, Shaikh Maktoum was involved in the meetings that were taking place between the Trucial States, a term used to define the emirates before the formation of the UAE in 1971. He was also present in February 1968 at the historical signing of the agreement between the Rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaikh Rashid. This was indeed a historic moment to be witness to as it was an initiation towards forming the federation.

Became ruler

At the age of 29, Shaikh Maktoum became the UAE's first Prime Minister from 1972 until 1979. Later, in 1983, he became Deputy Prime Minister. In 1990, following the death of his father, Shaikh Maktoum became Ruler of Dubai and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE.

During his rule, Shaikh Maktoum built on the foundation laid down by his father. He followed in his footsteps by advocating the same principles of development. It is true to say that Dubai today would not have been able to achieve what it has done so far without the guiding ideas of Shaikh Rashid. But is it not a fact that it would not have been possible for Dubai to progress as it has without these ideas being carried forward by Shaikh Maktoum?

Yet Shaikh Maktoum's role was not limited to ensuring Dubai's progress. In fact, his role in his capacity as Vice-President and Prime Minister came as a boon for the UAE. This was seen during two main periods in the history of the UAE. As Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Maktoum played a pivotal role first during the presidency of the late Shaikh Zayed and second when President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the new President. The significance of Shaikh Maktoum's role was not limited to the two presidency periods. Instead, the importance of his role was felt especially during the transitional periods.

It is easy to relay historical dates and events. It is true history can be recounted, revisited, reexamined and reinterpreted by the significance of events. But it is people who make history. And it is people who turn events in history into ones that are documented and remembered.

When it comes to Shaikh Maktoum, one fact that many would attribute to him is his character and personality, more so than historical dates and events, even though they hold great significance. Perhaps what will be remembered most about Shaikh Maktoum is his style of ruling with simplicity and governing the people by relating to them with ease and generosity

A man for youth and sport (Gulf News)

Leading sports personalities in Dubai have fond memories of Shaikh Maktoum, who was a strong supporter of sport and youth.

Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the late Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was a leading supporter of youth and sport in the UAE and Dubai in particular.

Shaikh Maktoum was behind the excellent achievement that the UAE youth achieved in the last 20 years. Even before he became Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Maktoum was a strong supporter of youth and sports.

"We knew Shaikh Maktoum as a main supporter of the youth and sports in Dubai from when we were young," recalled Ali Bu Jsaim, a former Fifa referee and current member of the UAE FA board of directors. "I remember he was always asking me after I became a Fifa referee about football and refereeing. He was keen to instruct me to conduct myself well."

Shaikh Maktoum also used to regularly attend most sports activities, like the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race.

New stadium

In 1979, when he was Crown Prince of Dubai, he inaugurated the new Al Ahli Club stadium, one of the four stadiums the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ordered to be constructed for the youth in Dubai. Shaikh Rashid himself attended the opening of the Al Nasr Stadium in 1978.

Also in 1991, Shaikh Maktoum attended the opening ceremony of the Arab Clubs Winners Cup hosted by Al Nasr club and in 1994, he inaugurated the 12th Gulf Cup and the Asian Cup Finals in 1996.

When Al Shabab club won the GCC clubs championship and became the first club to achieve the feat, Shaikh Maktoum visited the club and congratulated and honoured the players. " Shaikh Maktoum was very pleased with that achievement," said Yousuf Al Sarkal, Board Chairman of the UAE FA.

"I was the club's board chairman and I remember Shaikh Maktoum ordered that a special plane be sent to bring the team back from Muscat where we won the GCC title."

Al Sarkal said that Shaikh Maktoum was very happy with the UAE qualifying for the World Cup Finals in Italy in 1990 and he honoured the players. Shaikh Maktoum also established and supported the Victory Team and the Dubai International Marine Club. " Shaikh Maktoum always attended the races and offered us advice and ideas," said Saeed Hareb, managing director, DIMC. " I remember once when we delayed the start of a race by five minutes, Shaikh Maktoum phoned me immediately and asked me why we were late and that we must always be on time," added Hareb.

"The World Championships which was won several times by the Victory Team, would not have been possible without Shaikh Maktoum's tremendous support."

Dubai in mourning after emir, 62, dies in Australian hotel

Cause not known but history of heart problems
Fatboy Slim concert among cancelled events


Brian Whitaker
Thursday January 5, 2008
The Guardian


Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and a world-renowned owner and breeder of racehorses, died suddenly in Australia yesterday, aged 62.

The emir, who had been staying at the Palazzo Versace luxury hotel on the Gold Coast in Queensland, had arrived on December 28 in his personal Boeing 747-400, apparently to attend the Magic Millions yearling sale, which starts next week.

No official cause of death was given, though he reportedly suffered from heart problems. He was immediately succeeded by his younger brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The Dubai authorities declared 40 days of mourning. Government offices will be shut for seven days. Stock exchanges in Dubai and the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi ceased trading, and many shops and businesses closed.

The education ministry said school exams had been postponed, and a Fatboy Slim concert scheduled for tonight was cancelled. The Dubai marathon was also put on hold.

The opening ceremony for the annual Dubai Shopping Festival - a month-long extravaganza which attracts 3 million visitors who spend around $1bn (568,000) - has also been postponed. The festival is usually accompanied by concerts, fireworks displays, sporting events and lotteries with prizes including Rolls-Royces and bars of gold bullion.

Westerners living in Dubai predicted a period without alcohol out of respect for the late ruler, and there was discussion on the internet about how long this might last.

Officials at Brisbane airport, where Sheikh Maktoum's jumbo jet had been parked since his arrival, made special arrangements for the plane to leave with his body and entourage of 33. Muslim custom requires swift burial and the journey back to Dubai takes almost 14 hours.

Airport spokesman Jim Carden said: "As airport operator we have been able to facilitate that for the royal family obviously given their grief and the urgent need to get him back for particular cultural, religious reasons."

Sheikh Maktoum officially took over as ruler of Dubai in 1990, when his father, Sheikh Rashid, died after a long illness.

At home, he generally maintained a low profile, preferring to allow his younger brothers to run the day-to-day affairs of Dubai, one of seven wealthy mini-states that make up the United Arab Emirates.

Internationally, the emir was best known as co-owner of the Godolphin stables in Britain, where he spent several weeks a year.

Under the Maktoum family, Dubai has transformed itself from a desert outpost into a major international business hub. With its Media City project, it aspires to become the Middle East's main media centre and has attracted a number of high-profile companies, such as Reuters and Sony, as well as the Saudi-owned broadcaster, MBC, which relocated from London.

The emirate has also achieved fame with its extravagant building projects, including a group of manmade islands shaped like a map of the world and the weirdly luxurious Burj al-Arab hotel, a 1,000ft-high sail-shaped structure where suites cost up to $15,000 (8,500) a night.

Last month Dubai opened the world's largest indoor ski resort, complete with fir trees, chairlifts and more than 6,000 tonnes of manmade snow.

It is also building what is said to be the world's tallest tower and the first underwater hotel.





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