On Friday, Oman's longest leading monarch Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said passed away at the age of 79.
The ruler - who held his title for five decades - was mourned across the nation and the world. The Omani government declared a three-day mourning period in the wake of his passing as tributes honoring the leader poured in.
The leader did not have children nor a directly assigned heir to the throne at the time of his death. Omani Constitution states that in this case, royal family members are to select the next successor within three days.
On Saturday, Haitham bin Tariq al-Said - Al Said's cousin - was chosen as successor. He is now going to take on the role previously filled by Sultan Qaboos, a visionary who led his country into an era of peace and prosperity.
Here are lesser-known facts about the late leader:
1. He was the longest reigning Arab leader
The late Omani king is the 8th descendent of the royal Al Busaidi family.
Founded by Imam Ahmed bin Said in 1744, the clan is the longest-reigning family in the entire Arab world. Sultan Qaboos is also considered the longest-serving leader in the Middle East, having come to power in 1970.
Serving for 50 years also places him on the list of the longest-ruling monarchs in the world.
2. He attended Britain's Sandhurst military academy
The royal is British educated and lived in the UK up until the mid-60s. While there, he attended the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
He also joined the British army for a while after graduating and before returning to Oman.
3. He deposed his father in a bloodless coup
The leader was brought back home from the UK in 1965 as per his late father's orders. Sultan Qaboos' father, Saʿīd ibn Taymūr, "kept his son a virtual prisoner for six years" while keeping Oman in a state of underdevelopment despite the country's oil revenues.
It took some time, but in 1970, the late leader deposed his father in a bloodless coup in which he was supported by the British. When he took over, Oman was isolated from neighboring countries, had a struggling economy, and was considered impoverished.
The monarch amped up the production of oil in the nation and used its revenues to transform the country within a few years of ascending to power.
The leader renamed the country "Sultanate of Oman" instead of "Muscat and Oman," and named the former as a capital city. He also turned the country's political system into an absolute monarchy, granting himself power.
He was known and criticized for quashing all dissidence. However, he was loved by the majority of his people and hailed as a modernizer who abolished slavery, united the country, built education systems, hospitals and airports, and connected Oman to the world.
4. Omanis referred to him as "Baba Qaboos"
Omanis endearingly referred to the leader using the word "baba," which translates into "father."
5. He championed women's rights
He also oversaw the participation of women in politics and ensured they could serve at the highest levels of government. The country's constitution devised under his guidance "guarantees both men and women equal protection under the law."
6. He loved the arts
He was a huge supporter of the arts and even influenced his government into sponsoring artists and artistic endeavors. The ruler was a lover of classical music and played the organ and the lute. He was known to have composed several musical pieces, according to Middle East Eye.
The monarch founded the Gulf's first symphony orchestra in 1985 and recruited players from the towns and villages of Oman. He ordered the construction of an opera house in Muscat back in 2001 — considered the first to be built in the Middle East.
Despite occasional opposition among religious conservatives over the western and international music often hosted at the Royal Opera House, which opened in 2011 and continues to flourish in Oman.
7. He took pride in his country's heritage
Sultan Qaboos is said to have been focused on putting Omani culture, traditions, and heritage on the map everywhere he went.
He always urged his people to embrace their heritage and celebrate their culture and identity.
8. His birthday is celebrated as a national holiday
Oman annually celebrates its National Day on Nov. 18. The holiday marks the country's independence from Portugal in 1650.
The holiday has always been marked with a two-day break since Nov. 19 was the late sultan's birthday and was celebrated as a National Day all in itself.
Parades, firework shows, and celebrations take over the country to recognize both its history and its leader on these two days.