Fashion designer Khalid Al Qasimi, the 39-year-old son of the ruler of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has died in circumstances described by UK authorities as unexplained.
The Emirate of Sharjah announced the death in a statement Tuesday after London’s Metropolitan Police were called to a residence in the upmarket Knightsbridge area shortly after 10.30 a.m. local time (5.30 a.m ET) the day before.
“A man in his late 30s was found deceased inside the property,” the police said in a statement, adding that the “death is currently being treated as unexplained.” A post-mortem examination carried out Tuesday failed to identify the cause of death, it added. British media said the body was that of Qasimi.
Funeral prayers were held for Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi on Wednesday as the emirate announced three days of mourning, with flags flying at half staff.
His father, Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, posted images and a video of the prayers on Instagram Wednesday.
Qasimi, who was the last surviving son of the Sharjah ruler, moved to London when he was nine years old.
“He was educated at Tonbridge School, where he was awarded an art scholarship upon entry, and went on to read French and Spanish at University College London,” according to his fashion label’s website.
After studying at Central Saint Martins art school in London, he launched his eponymous fashion label, Qasimi, in 2008.
“The design world has lost a great philosopher and artist and we ask that the privacy of the family, team and brand are respected at this difficult time,” the label said in a statement.
The Emirate statement listed numerous condolences from the UAE leadership, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and regional heads of states including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Qasimi had three sisters, one half sister and a half-brother, who died years ago, according to the official biography of Sharjah ruler Sultan Al Qasimi. His twin sister is the director of the Sharjah Art Foundation.
“Qasimi is a way for me to discuss what’s going on around us whether it is politics or economics,” he said a previous interview with Japan Fashion TV. Some of his latest designs include £115 ($144) T-shirt with the writing in Arabic, that read: “Press. Don’t Shoot.”
“I’ve always considered myself to be an outsider wherever I am. I’m too Western to fit in in the Middle East, and too Middle Eastern to fit in in the west. At the same time, I don’t think I’m the kind of person that wants to fit in either way. I like to observe,” he said in a 2015 interview with Style.com/Arabia.