Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed profile: the Dubai royal kept out of the public spotlight

Dubai royal found some success as a sportsman, but had his political role curtailed amid allegations of drug taking and the alleged slaying of a secretary

Dubai royal Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed, whose death at the age of 33 due to a heart attack was announced over the weekend, was a horse racing enthusiast whose public profile was shaped largely by his sporting interests – and damaging claims about his personal life.

As the eldest son of Dubai's ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the ruler's senior wife, Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, he had been in line to be Crown Prince, but the role was allotted to his younger brother Sheikh Hamden in 2008.

In contrast to his brother, Sheikh Rashid's public role was limited.

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Dubai ruler's son Rashid bin Mohammed dies aged 33

He faced damaging speculation about the pastimes he indulged in his personal life, including allegations he underwent treatment for drug addiction.

But most damaging were allegations that he had killed an assistant in his father's office, a claim noted in a US diplomatic cable released by whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks.

The Independent has contacted UAE officials over the allegations but had yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

Sheikh Rashid's public-facing roles were limited to positions such as president of the Dubai Cultural and Sports Club and, briefly, president of the UAE National Olympic Committee, and an association with Dubai Cares, the emirate's child education charity.

He found greater success as a sportsman, winning accolades for his horsemanship, including the individual gold in the 120km endurance ride at the 15th Asian Games in Qatar in 2006.

He competed in horse racing competitions around the world and owned Zabeel Racing, the Dubai stables where his horses were trained.

He also played football at home, and was said to be a supporter of Manchester United.

Born on 12 November 1981, Sheikh Rashid was educated at the Rashid School for Boys in Dubai and attended Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, where he graduated in 2002.

Zabeel Racing was not Sheikh Rashid's only business venture however; when he returned to Dubai from Sandhurst he reportedly opened a number of his own companies, including investment group United Holdings Group Dubai, according to MailOnline.

Following his death a three-day mourning period was declared across the UAE, and dignitaries from around the Gulf have offered condolences to his family.

Among the tributes made to Sheikh Rashid was a prayer shared by his younger brother the Crown Prince, who said on social media: "Today I lost a best friend and a childhood companion, my dear brother Rashid.

"You will be missed."