The ruling Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has died at the age of 91. An official statement was read out on national television on Tuesday. He died in a hospital in the United States.
“With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn … the death of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, emir of the State of Kuwait,” said Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah, the minister in charge of royal affairs.
His reign began in 2006 when he succeeded Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah. The succession to the throne is limited to the descendants of Mubarak Al-Sabah and usually alternates between the Al-Ahmed and Al-Salem branches. A reigning Emir must appoint an heir apparent within one year of his accession, and his nomination needs to be approved by an absolute majority of members of the National Assembly. And so, despite having two surviving sons, the Emir will most likely be succeeded by his 83-year-old half-brother Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the current Crown Prince.
The future Emir was born on 16 June 1929 as the fourth son of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. His mother was Munira Othman Hamad Al-Ayyar Al-Saeed. He was married to Fatuwah bint Salman Al-Sabah, who passed away in 1990. They had three sons and a daughter together. One son died young in a traffic accident, while their only daughter died in 2002 from breast cancer.
Before becoming Emir, he served as the Foreign Minister of Kuwait from 1963 to 1991 and from 1992 to 2003.