DUBAI // Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, died on Saturday morning of a heart attack at age 33.
“Today, I lost a best friend and a childhood companion, my dear brother Rashid,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai. “You will be missed.”
President Sheikh Khalifa declared three days of mourning across the UAE, with flags at government departments and institutions to fly at half mast. Sheikh Khalifa expressed his heartfelt condolences and solace to Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also mourned the death of Sheikh Rashid and expressed condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Al Maktoum family.
“God bless the deceased young man ... We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return,” the Court of the Ruler of Dubai said.
The Court said work at Dubai government entities would continue as usual, according to the Dubai Media Office. Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which regulates the emirate’s private schools, has said schools will remain open.
UAE government institutions, including the Federal National Council, and officials have offered condolences, along with the Ruler’s Courts of the emirates and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and the Arab League.
Prayers will be held at Zabeel mosque on Saturday evening and he will then be buried in Umm Hurair cemetery in Bur Dubai. Roads from the mosque to the cemetery will be closed from 6.40pm to 7.30pm, Dubai Media Office said. Roads subject to closure include Al Majlis Street in front of Zabeel mosque, Zabeel Road and Street 3 leading to the cemetery.
Sheikh Rashid was born in Dubai and educated at the Rashid School for Boys, then attended Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK, graduating from there in 2002. He was an active member of Dubai Cares philanthropic organisation and a well-known sports figure.
He played a significant role in advancing sports in the UAE, the Dubai Media Office said. He was a founding member of Dubai Sports and Cultural Club, for which he was chairman until 2005, when his brother Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed took the position.
Sheikh Rashid was an accomplished equestrian, having participated in international and local competitions and winning laurels for the UAE. He won two gold medals in the 120-kilometre Endurance Individual and 120km Endurance Team Mixed events at the 2006 Doha Asian Olympics.
He was owner of Zabeel Racing International and led the individual owners list an unprecedented five times with more than 428 wins.