A1 Grand Prix founder Sheikh Maktoum's uncle has passed away in Australia, while on a trip designed to strengthen his already-successful horse racing stable.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashed al-Maktoum, was found at the Palazzo Versace resort on the Gold Coast, having suffered a suspected heart attack. He was in Australia to visit the annual 'Magic Millions' yearling sales, with an eye on adding to the string of racehorses run by the Godolphin organisation, of which he was a co-owner.

Sheikh Maktoum was born in 1943 and was appointed the first prime minister of the UAE in 1971. Upon the death of his father in 1990, he became ruler of Dubai and vice-president and prime minister of the UAE.

Arrangements are being made to fly his body home as quickly as possible, and his body is expected to be buried in Dubai by sunset tomorrow [Thursday] in line with Muslim tradition, starting a 40-day period of mourning.

The Sheikh's brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, currently the UAE's defence minister, will take over as ruler of Dubai, while UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan is expected to appoint a new premier and vice-president for the Gulf Arab state.



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