the radios have gone off line, the whispers are doing rounds in almost all the nooks and corners of the UAE....
and now it is confirmed.
sheikh maktoum bin rashid al maktoum has passed away. may his soul rest in peace...
The prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, died early on Wednesday in Australia, the official WAM news agency said.
Diplomats said Sheikh Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, suffered heart problems and was in his mid-60s.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is the UAE's defence minister, is Maktoum's brother and heir who will automatically take over as ruler of Dubai.
Officials said UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan will appoint a new premier and vice president for the Gulf Arab state that is a federation of seven emirates.
Sheikh Maktoum maintained a low profile, preferring to allow his younger brothers, including the globally renowned enterpreneur Sheikh Mohammed, to run the day-to-day affairs of Dubai, the Gulf region's trade and tourism hub.
Sheikh Maktoum is best known as co-owner of Dubai's Godolphin stables which competes in major horse races.
"The UAE has today lost a historical leader who dedicated his life to building the nation and doing good for its people," said a statement from the UAE's presidency.
Dubai's main stock market halted trading after the news. The UAE has declared 40 days of mourning and government institutions will be closed for a week. (Reuters)
He first became Prime Minister on 9 December 1971 and served until 25 April 1979 when he was replaced by his father Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Following the latter's death on 7 October 1990 he resumed his position as Prime Minister and also took over as Ruler of the Dubai.
Sheikh Maktoum used to run the emirate of Dubai along with his two brothers, Sheikh Mohammed (Crown Prince and Minister of Defence) and Sheikh Hamdan (Minister of Finance) of the United Arab Emirates.
some say that there is a 4 day mourning... some say it is 40!