Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Mideast’s longest-ruling king who usurped power in 1970 palace coup and embraced his Arabian sultanate into modernity while thoughtfully balanced diplomatic relations between adversaries Iran and U.S took his last breath at 79.

The state-run Oman News Agency announced his death late Friday on the official Twitter handle. The sultan was supposed to have been unwell in recent days and travelled to Belgium for medical consultation last month. The royal court stated three days of mourning.

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