DUBAI, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday mourned the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the second president of the UAE and the 16th ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, who died at the age of 73.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said on his official Twitter account that "with great sadness, we mourn the death of our leader and President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Sheikh Khalifa was a dedicated leader who served and loved his people, a love they reciprocated."
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, expressed his "great sadness on the demise of Sheikh Khalifa," saying "the UAE today lost its loyal son and the leader of its empowerment stage and blessed journey, Sheikh Khalifa's stances, wisdom, contribution, and initiatives are in every corner of the country."
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, said in a tweet that "words fall short to mourn the death of a leader who spent his entire life in serving his people and country."
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and minister of Presidential Affairs, tweeted that "we bid farewell today to a believing leader, an inspiring president, an advising brother and a teacher. Sheikh Khalifa led the nation's march with sincerity and consolidated the UAE's renaissance. He was a true teacher in giving, philanthropy and upholding morals."
Meanwhile, the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs said messages of condolences will be received at Al Mushrif Palace in the capital of Abu Dhabi from Saturday to Monday.
Ministries, departments, federal and local institutions and private sector institutions will remain closed for three days starting Saturday. Official working hours will resume next Tuesday.
Sheikh Khalifa first assumed the federal constitutional authority as president of the UAE and became ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi on Nov. 3, 2004, succeeding his late father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away a day earlier. ■