Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of luxury department store Harrods and father of Dodi Al Fayed, who was killed in a car accident alongside Princess Diana, has died at the age of 94.
The Egyptian-born businessman passed away on Wednesday (30 August). His family say he died “peacefully of old age”.
Al Fayed was best known for being a prolific business mogul, as he became the owner of Harrods following an intense bidding war, and went on to own Fulham Football Club in London. He also owned the Ritz hotel in Paris.
Al Fayed moved to Britain in 1974 after working in arms dealings and advising the Sultan of Brunei – one of the richest men in the world. Five years after arriving in the United Kingdom, he bought the Ritz hotel with his brother Ali. They then took over Harrods in 1985.
Al Fayed also notoriously fought a long campaign following the tragic death of his son and Princess Diana, who were engaged at the time.
The news of Al Fayed’s passing comes just one day after the 26th anniversary of the couple’s death. Al Fayed’s son, the film producer Dodi Al Fayed, and Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997. They were leaving one of Mohammed Al Fayed’s Ritz hotels in Paris, but as they tried to outrun paparazzi photographers, their car crashed in a road tunnel.
Al Fayed fought a long campaign after their deaths, believing that the crash was not an accident and that it had been planned by the British security services.
He gave evidence at the inquest in February 2008, and included claims that the deaths were on the orders of Prince Philip and with the connivance of MI6. They were deemed a “conspiracy theory” by the coroner and rejected by the jury.
French authorities eventually ruled that the crash was, in fact, an accident. Later, a British police investigation concluded it was an accident, caused in part by speeding and by the high alcohol level in driver Henri Paul’s blood.
Fulham Football Club released a statement on X (formerly Twitter), writing: “Everyone at Fulham was incredibly saddened to learn of the death of our former Owner and Chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed.
“We owe Mohamed a debt of gratitude for what he did for our Club, and our thoughts now are with his family and friends at this sombre time.”
His successor at the club, Shahid Khan, shared his condolences for Mohammed Al Fayed in a tribute on Fulham Football Club’s website.
“The story of Fulham cannot be told without a chapter on the positive impact of Mr Al Fayed as chairman,” he said. “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.”
Under Al Fayed’s ownership, Fulham FC rose from the third tier to the Premier League, with fans sharing their condolences and highlighting his accomplishments as the club’s owner across social media.
His family said in a statement released on Friday: “Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday 30 August, 2023.
“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.”