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Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim dies at 38 after long illness: A look at the life of Sultan of Brunei's son

Fourth-in-line to succeed to the throne of Brunei, he was the second born prince of Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah
UPDATED OCT 25, 2020
Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim of Brunei (Getty Images)
Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim of Brunei (Getty Images)

Sultan of Brunei's son Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim of Brunei died on October 24, 2020, at 10.08 am. Brunei's state broadcaster Radio Television Brunei confirmed the news in an official announcement.

“Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah's son Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim passed away on 17th of Rabi ul Awal (October 24, 2020) at 10.08 am local time. The funeral will take place during Asr prayers this evening,” the announcement, made in Brunei Malay, said. A source from Brunei also confirmed the news to MEAWW saying HRH Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim had been in the hospital for a while and his death was announced on radio this morning. The source added that the nation is in seven-day mourning.


Prince Azim's Wikipedia page read, “Prince Azim passed away on 24 October 2020 after a long illness. The official announcement of his passing was announced later the day he passed away.” Fourth-in-line to succeed to the throne of Brunei — a tiny nation on the island of Borneo — he was the second born prince of Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam. He was 38. 

The shocking news first surfaced on Twitter accounts and many people shared their deepest condolences.

“DYTM Hj Abdul Azim telah kembali kerahmat Allah إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون this is so heartbreaking,” one tweet read and another said, "AL-FATIHAH DYTM HJ ABDUL AZIM has returned to Allah.” One Twitter user wrote, “HRH Prince Haji Abdul Azim passed away. A big brother to Prince Mateen. Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun.. Al-fatihah,” and added, "The announcement will be officially announced later.” The Twitter user — with the handle @svdwaffles — continued, “I need to private my account cause inda boleh bising dulu but I tweeted it. He passed away at 10am tadi.”





Born in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on July 29, 1982, he studied at International School Brunei, Raffles Institution, and Oxford Brookes University. Belonging to the House of Bolkiah, his full name was Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Duli Pengiran Muda Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim. Back in 2008, he dropped out a week after being sent for a nine-month officer training course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was raised alongside his siblings, Abdul Mateen and Al-Muhtadee Billah. In 2009, he started designing unisex weekend bags for MCM and reportedly, the proceeds went to the charity Make A Wish Foundation UK.

A patron for social causes, he lent his support for the autistic at Smarter Brunei's musical charity gala night in 2011 where 31 autistic performers showcased their talent. As per The Brunei Times, he said, “Treat them with respect, as you would to any of your family members, and as you would to any other person." In an exclusive interview with The Brunei Times, he added, “I think the children are excited about what they are doing and I feel this is the right way for people to view them, as people who are capable and it is a wonderful show. I think it is important for me to be here and show my support. I think you have to look after what is at home before you do anything else. You have to do what you can with what you have."

The other sons of the Sultan, Princes 'Abdul 'Azim, Abdul Malik & Abdul Matine sunk into his chair (Getty Images)

Two years later, at the opening of the 2nd ASEAN Autism Network (AAN) Congress in 2013, he urged that appropriate support be given to families with autistic family members. “We are fortunate that in Brunei Darussalam, we have been blessed with a society that has traditionally been made up of close-knit family units that work to support each other,” adding, “We must also look to provide appropriate support to families and individuals from the public sector with the active participation of the relevant authorities.”

A producer with the London-based film company Daryl Prince Productions, he was criticized for his father's pro-sharia stance. Forbes estimated the Sultan's net worth to be $20 billion (£15bn) in 2011.

Azim was known for throwing star-studded parties, such as the 2009 'Party of the Year' where guests ranged from Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and Sophia Loren. In 2012, he threw a diva-fest bash for his 30th birthday at The Dorchester Hotel, in London and Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Hall, Marisa Tomei and Pamela Anderson were in attendance. As per Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth was estimated at $5 billion.