Kuwait's ruling emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah has died at age 86

Kuwait's ruling emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah has died at age 86
Kuwait state television made the announcement on Saturday, following the emir having been admitted to hospital in late November
2 min read
16 December, 2023
The death of Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was announced on Saturday morning by state TV [Getty]

Kuwait state television says the country's ruling emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has died at age 86.

 Kuwait's ruling emir, the 86-year-old Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has died, state television reported Saturday.

Kuwait TV broke into programming with Quranic verses just before making the announcement.

In late November, Sheikh Nawaf was rushed to hospital for an unspecified illness. In the time since, the tiny, oil-rich nation had been waiting for news about his health.

State-run news previously reported that he traveled to the United States for unspecified medical checks in March 2021.

The health of Kuwait’s leaders remains a sensitive matter in the Middle Eastern nation bordering Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which has seen internal power struggles behind palace doors.

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Sheikh Nawaf was sworn in as emir following the 2020 death of his predecessor, the late Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Sheikh Nawaf previously served as Kuwait’s interior and defense minister but wasn’t seen as particularly active in government outside those terms. However, he was largely an uncontroversial choice for emir, though his advancing age led analysts to suggest his tenure would be short.

Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad Al Jaber, now 83, is believed to be the world’s oldest crown prince. He is in line to take over as Kuwait's ruler.

Kuwait, a nation home to some 4.2 million people, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

It has also been known as a staunch US ally since the 1991 Gulf War expelled the occupying Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein.