Sultan Qaboos, the longest-reigning leader of the modern Arab world, has died at the age of 79, the royal court said Saturday, January 11. “With great sorrow and deep sadness… the royal court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who passed away on Friday,” the court said in a statement.
Qaboos, who has ruled Oman since 1970 had been ill for some time. He had recently travelled to Belgium for medical treatment but returned to Oman. He was the only child of Sultan Said bin Taimur and left no apparent heir. He was unmarried and had no children or brothers. It is not clear who will succeed Qaboos, whose country has a distinct method of choosing the next ruler.
Qaboos transformed the country from a backwater into a modern state while pursuing a moderate but active foreign policy. It remains to be seen whether the next ruler will take the same moderate approach in a region often in turmoil.