Dubai ruler Maktoum bin Rashid passes away | world | Hindustan Times
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Dubai ruler Maktoum bin Rashid passes away

The emir of Dubai, Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died on Wednesday while visiting Australia.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2006 15:13 IST

The emir of Dubai, Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, died on Wednesday while visiting Australia, the president's office said.

The emir, 62, was a vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

His younger brother, the crown prince of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emirates' defence minister, will succeed him.

"The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday lost a historical leader who devoted his life to establishing the United Arab Emirates and enhancing its structure and the welfare of its people," the Emirates government said in a statement.

In Australia, Queensland Police spokeswoman Chelsea Roffey said Sheik Maktoum died at the Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast, a resort in Queensland state. He arrived in Australia on December 28.

His body will be flown back home later on Wednesday. A spokesman for Brisbane airport, Jim Carden, said the Sheikh's private Boeing 747-400 was ready for the trip.

In its statement, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in Abu Dhabi said the Sheikh "placed his country's interest over any other considerations. He was a model of good behaviour."

The official mourning period of 40 days has been declared and government offices will be closed for seven days, starting on Wednesday.