Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said dies aged 79
Ruler was the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch, having been in power since 1970
Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said sits during a meeting at the Beit Al Baraka Royal Palace in Muscat, Oman. File photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AP
Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said has died aged 79 after suffering from cancer.
Sultan Qaboos had been in power since 1970, when he took the throne after overthrowing his father, Said bin Taimur, in a British-assisted coup. He was the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch.
Where his father ruled with an isolationist attitude, Sultan Qaboos was determined to modernise the Middle Eastern country.
One of his first steps as a ruler was to abolish slavery, before setting about using Oman’s oil revenues to bring the country into the 20th century.
Roads, schools, hospitals and airports were built and a telecommunications network and electric grid were quickly established.
Sultan Qaboos also introduced the Omani rial as the country’s national currency, replacing the Indian rupee and Maria Theresa thaler.
The Sultan was an avid classical music fan who regularly took his personal 120-member orchestra with him on his travels.
Sultan Qaboos married his first cousin, Kamila, in 1976; however, their marriage ended in divorce just three years later.
He had been suffering from colon cancer since 2017.
State TV in Oman has named culture minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the new Sultan.–PA/Reuters