The Emir had been unwell for some time, and had frequently travelled abroad for treatment.
His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, has passed away.
Sheikh Sabah, 91, had ruled the Gulf Arab oil producer and US ally since 2006 and steered its foreign policy for more than 50 years. His designated successor is his brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah.
“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.
Sheikh Sabah sought to balance relations with Kuwait’s bigger neighbours — forging the closest ties with Saudi Arabia, rebuilding links with Iraq and keeping open dialogue with Iran.
The new Emir’s choice of crown prince and prime minister will be watched closely, especially at a time when Kuwait’s finances have been strained by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, television channels in Kuwait cut into their daily programming to broadcast verses from the Holy Quran. The Kuwaiti stock market also fell 2.2 per cent on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, he had returned from the US following a surgery for an undisclosed condition.
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