Mohamed Al-Fayed dies aged 94

Successful businessman was father to Dodi Fayed, who died in a car accident alongside Princess Diana in Paris in 1997

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The Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed has died in London aged 94, his family announced on Friday

Mr Al-Fayed was at one time among the most high-profile businessmen in Britain. Aside from previously owning Fulham FC, he also was the former owner of luxury department store Harrods and the Paris Ritz Hotel.

He was the father of Dodi Fayed, who died with Princess Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997. He spent the rest of his life mourning the loss.

"Mrs Mohamed Al-Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday 30 August, 2023," a statement from the family said.

"He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time."

Mr Al-Fayed was born in Alexandria in Egypt and moved to London in the 1960s where he set about building his empire.

As a boy, he regularly skipped school to do odd jobs, selling soft drinks in the streets or sewing machines door-to-door.

He began investing in UK companies after relocating a shipping company he had founded with his brothers from Egypt to Europe.

With his two brothers, Mr Al-Fayed fended off rival investor Roland Walter “Tiny” Rowland in 1985 to land the winning bid for London department store Harrods for £615 million ($669 million at the time).

Mr Rowland later complained that the Al-Fayeds had misrepresented their wealth and background to secure the deal, achieved through a takeover of Harrods’ parent company, House of Fraser.

As owner of Fulham FC from 1997 to 2013, he was credited with turning around the football club’s fortunes. He also owned tens of thousands of acres of land in the Scottish Highlands.

Later, he would become known for bitter clashes with Britain’s royal family after the death of Princess Diana and his son.

Mr Al-Fayed was convinced that Dodi and Princess Diana had been killed in a conspiracy by a royal family that could not countenance the divorced princess marrying a Muslim.

In 2008, he told an inquest the list of alleged conspirators included senior royal family members and politicians.

The inquest concluded that Princess Diana and Dodi died because of the reckless actions of their driver and paparazzi chasing the couple.

In 2010, he sold Harrods to Qatar’s royal family for a reported £1.5 billion and three years later he sold Fulham FC to Shahid Khan, owner of American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars.

There was a funeral held for Mr Al-Fayed after Friday prayers at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, Sky News reported.

Fulham FC led the tributes to their former owner

“On behalf of everyone at Fulham Football Club, I send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mohamed Al Fayed upon the news of his passing at age 94,” his successor as owner, Shahid Khan, said in a statement on the club's website.

“I join our supporters around the world in celebrating the memory of Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose legacy will always be at the heart of our tradition at Fulham Football Club.”

Updated: September 02, 2023, 5:48 AM