Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3RD, heir to the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, died of multiple organ failure on Sunday. He was 75.
“He died peacefully. In fact, even with his last breath, he recited our morning prayer. He is with Allah,” Kiram’s wife, Dr. Fatima Celia Kiram, told The Manila Times.
“He always said that he is a true Filipino—very loyal and nationalistic. He never sold his dignity and principles,” she added.
The sultan was preparing for dialysis but his blood pressure dropped on Friday. He was rushed to the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City where he died.
In February, Kiram, the acknowledged leader of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, sent his brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram and 200 fighters from the Royal Security Forces to occupy the town of Lahad Datu in Sabah.
Malaysian troops drove out Kiram’s fighters following bloody clashes that lasted almost a month.
“The first thing he said in his last Royal Decree, he urged his family, brothers, and sisters to love each other more, and extend this love to the sultanate’s constituents,” his spokesman Abraham Idjirani, said.
Idjirani said the sultan instructed his siblings to continue their fight to reclaim Sabah.
Kiram’s remains were brought to his residence in Maharlika Village, Taguig City before being flown to Sulu.
Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan of Sulu and former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales were the first to pay their last respects.
The Kiram family was able to charter a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight to bring the Sultan’s remains to Jolo, Sulu where he will be laid to rest at the Sultanate’s Jarul Jambangan cemetery in Maimbung. Under Islamic traditions, a person must be buried within 24 hours after his death.
Malacañang expressed its condolences to the Sultan’s family.
“We offer our condolences to the bereaved family and to his loved ones,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.
Asked about the government’s plans now that the sultan has died, Valte said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s order to study the legal and historical aspects of the Sabah claim is “still ongoing.”