Recently, reports had suggested that the sultanate was preparing for an elaborate succession process as Qaboos’ health was not taking any turn for the better.
Qaboos had traveled to Belgium last December to seek medical treatment.
He absented himself from an annual Persian Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia in the same month, giving rise to speculations about his failing constitution.
Sultan Qaboos rose to power in the former British protectorate in a 1970 coup that was assisted by London.
He had no children and had not publicly appointed a successor.
The sultanate’s court now has to pick a replacement in three days. The sultan has already named his desired successor but has kept his identity secret to avoid political fallout.
Should the court fail to name the next sultan, the authorities will have to open secret letters, in which Qaboos has penned the name of the heir to the throne.