Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid pays tribute to pioneering Emirati businessman Easa Al Gurg

The death of the diplomat and champion of charitable causes was announced on Thursday

Easa Al Gurg was one of the UAE's first bankers. Photo: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid / Twitter
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday led tributes to the late Easa Al Gurg.

Al Gurg was one of the UAE's pioneering businessmen, bankers and also a key diplomat as the country emerged on the world stage. His death was announced on Thursday.

The businessman was also known for his dedication to humanitarian causes.

"He was one of the most important men of our national economy," Sheikh Mohammed said on Thursday.

"May God have mercy on him."

Al Gurg was among the group of visionary people who helped to oversee the rise of Dubai and the modern-day UAE. Even before the country was formed, he was a member of the Trucial States Development Board, which sought to improve the lives of people who lived in the Trucial States.

He went on to serve beside Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, Ruler of Dubai, as it was transformed from a small town to the global metropolis it is today.

Al Gurg was one of a dwindling number of people who could remember the city before the boom and just how difficult the journey was.

He later founded the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group that grew to become a huge conglomerate spanning retail, building and construction, industrial and property.

"It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of our beloved chairman and founder," the Al Gurg Group said.

Easa Al Gurg served as ambassador to the UK and Ireland. Photo: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

Abdul Ghafar Hussain, a prominent Emirati writer, also paid tribute to Al Gurg, pointing out his early role in the 1950s with the British Bank in Dubai.

"He worked in the diplomatic sector as the UAE’s ambassador to the UK and was a prominent businessman. May God have mercy on him," he wrote on social media.

Mahmood Al Awadi, a publisher in Dubai, said he was honoured to have been involved in the publication of Al Gurg's 1988 autobiography, The Wells of Memory.

Sultan Al Ameemi, president of the Emirates Writers Union, also expressed his condolences.

Al Gurg had a distinguished history of service to the country, said Mr Al Ameemi.

His role in the UAE's growth was not limited to business and he also sought to enhance the country's reputation on the global stage. He served as ambassador to the UK and Ireland in this regard.

His contribution to charitable causes was also important and he created a legacy of philanthropy. Today the Al Gurg Charity Foundation is a testament to his humanitarianism and numerous foundation scholarships have helped young students.

He was honoured by the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who awarded him the Order of Zayed II in 1997.

The Order of Zayed is the UAE's highest civilian honour.

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Updated: March 31, 2022, 1:14 PM