American actress Eva Longoria and Egyptian entrepreneur Mohamed Al-Fayed attend the opening of the Harrods Winter Sale in London on December 28, 2006. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Egyptian billionaire and former Harrods store owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose son Dodi was killed in a 1997 car crash along with his girlfriend Princess Diana, his died, has family announced. He was 94.
The colorful and high-profile figure, who purchased London's Harrods Department Store in the 1980s and left a lasting legacy across Britain's sports and entertainment worlds, died earlier this week "peacefully of old age," family members said in statement to media outlets issued late Friday by the Fulham FC Premier League soccer team.
"He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time," his relatives said.
Al-Fayed has been buried alongside Dodi after a funeral at a London mosque, the Press Trust of India reported on Saturday.
The news of his passing was released a day after the 26th anniversary of his son's death.
Near the top of his lengthy resume, Mohamed Al-Fayed purchased the Fulham club in 1997, shortly after the London team had managed to win promotion from the third tier of English football to the second.
"Following his takeover, he announced his intention to reach the Premier League within five years," the team said in a statement. "Fulham did it in four."
"The story of Fulham cannot be told without a chapter on the positive impact of Mr. Al-Fayed as chairman," said current team chairman Shahid Khan. "His legacy will be remembered for our promotion to the Premier League, a Europa League Final, and moments of magic by players and teams alike."
Al-Fayed built a massive shipping empire in the Middle East after starting out as a street hawker in Alexandria, Egypt, and in the 1960s became a personal adviser to some of the richest men in the world, including the Sultan of Brunei and Rashid bin Saeed. the former prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
But it was his son's relationship with Diana and their tragic deaths which overshadowed the latter portion of his life. The billionaire long believed their deaths were the result of a conspiracy perpetrated by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, claiming that Diana was pregnant and planning to marry Dodi and that the royal family could not accept the idea of the princess marrying a Muslim.
Legendary TV writer and producer
Norman Lear attends the GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 12, 2018. Lear, who worked on "All in the Family," "Maude," "Sanford and Son," "The Jeffersons," "Good Times" and more, died at the age of 101 on December 5. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo