Mohamed Al Fayed has passed away at the age of 94. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Al Fayed rose from humble beginnings to become a force in the business world.
Al Fayed’s journey to success began when he met his first wife, Samira Khashoggi, sister of Saudi millionaire Adnan Khashoggi. This connection led him to work in Khashoggi’s Saudi Arabian import business, where he established valuable contacts. Despite the short-lived marriage, Al Fayed used these connections to launch his own shipping business.
In 1966, Al Fayed became an advisor to one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, the Sultan of Brunei. He moved to Britain in 1974 and, along with his brother Ali, purchased the Ritz hotel in Paris for £20m in 1979. The brothers then acquired Harrods in 1985 for £615m after a fierce bidding war with mining conglomerate Lonrho group.
Al Fayed’s ownership saw Fulham FC rise from the third tier to the Premier League. He was also known for his philanthropy, particularly towards charities supporting underprivileged or unwell children. In 1987, he established the Al Fayed Charitable Foundation to improve the lives of impoverished and sick children.
However, Al Fayed’s life was marked by personal tragedy. His son Dodi and Dodi’s partner, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in 1997. Al Fayed spent years questioning the circumstances surrounding their deaths, even claiming they were orchestrated by Prince Philip and MI6, allegations that were dismissed as conspiracy theories.
Despite his significant contributions to British society, Al Fayed’s attempts to secure British citizenship were unsuccessful. He sold Harrods to the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar in 2010, using nearly half of the purchase price to clear the company’s debts.
Al Fayed’s death has been met with tributes from various quarters. Fulham Football Club expressed its gratitude for his contributions, while journalist Piers Morgan described him as an “extraordinary tour de force.”
Al Fayed is survived by his wife Heini and their children and grandchildren. His family confirmed his peaceful passing due to old age on August 30, 2023, stating that he enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones.