UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away on Friday, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs reported.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE,” the statement said.

He was chosen to succeed his father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the UAE's first president after unification in 1971.

Sheikh Khalifa, born in 1948, was the second president of the UAE and the 16th ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. He was the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed.

Upon becoming president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa oversaw a major restructuring of both the federal and Abu Dhabi governments. Under his rule, the UAE witnessed accelerated development.

Sheikh Khalifa led the development of the oil and gas sector and the processing industries, which successfully contributed to the diversification of the country's economy.

He also took the initiative to develop a nomination system for the Federal National Council, which was seen as the first step toward establishing direct elections in the UAE.

He was much loved in the UAE and the region, the Khaleej Times reported.