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Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah dies at 86

Ruler of the Gulf monarchy had been admitted to hospital in late November
Kuwait's then-Crown Prince Sheik Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah attends the 25th Arab Summit in Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, 26 March 2014 (Nasser Waggi/AP)

Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah died on Saturday aged 86.

The announcement was made by the Emiri Diwan of Kuwait, the royal court, in an official statement read out on state television.

"With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn... the death of Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait," the statement read.

Emir Nawaf was admitted to hospital in late November due to a medical emergency. 

He is set to be succeeded his brother Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, 83. 

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Nawaf became the Gulf monarchy's ruler in 2020 following the death of his half brother, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah.

His appointment as crown prince in 2006 had broken a tradition of alternating the throne between the al-Jaber and al-Salim clans of the royal family. 

The two clans are descendants of Jaber Al Sabah and Salim Al Sabah, two former emirs whose father, Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, is considered the founder of modern Kuwait. The Kuwaiti constitution dictates that the country's rulers must be descendants of Sheikh Mubarak.

The Gulf monarchy has an elected parliament, but the emir remains the head of state with power over virtually all affairs in the country.

Born in 1937, Nawaf was the fifth son of the 10th ruler of the emirate, Sheikh Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, who ruled Kuwait for almost 30 years in the first half of the 20th century.

He started his political career aged 25 as the governor of Hawalli province, before going on to hold various senior cabinet positions throughout his life.

He lead the ministry of defence during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and later served as the head of interior and social services ministries. 

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