“We will preserve the course that Hussein set,” King Abdullah II of Jordan said as he announced his father’s death on February 7, 1999, hours after King Hussein died after a long battle with cancer, and as the former Crown Prince was declared Jordan’s new ruler at the age of 37.
“Hussein was a father, a brother, to each of you, the same as he was my father,” he continued. “Today you are my brothers and sisters, and with you, I find sympathy and condolences under God.”
People wept in the streets that day. Imams read sacred verses from the Quran. Mourners sheltered themselves from the rain outside the hospital where the King’s body lay.
The funeral took place on February 8, with members of other royal families and world leaders flying in to pay tribute. There were more than 40 kings, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders, and an estimated 800,000 Jordanians there to pay their respects that day.
Among those in attendance was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and heads of state, such as US president Bill Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
King Hussein, a member of the Hashemite family, reigned for 46 years, and to this day, he is remembered as a beloved leader.