BBC NEWS - World Edition
Wednesday, 14 May, 2003,
01:21 GMT 02:21 UK

Ismaeli leader dies

A prominent member of the Ismaeli Muslim community, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, has died, aged 70.

A long-serving United Nations official and the uncle of the spiritual leader of Ismaeli Muslims, Karim Aga Khan IV, he passed away at a hospital in Boston after a lengthy illness.

The Harvard-educated Prince Sadruddin was named the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 1965 at the age of 33, making him the youngest person to hold the post.

During his 12 years at the head of UNHCR, the Prince oversaw humanitarian relief for a series of crises, including the 1971 Bangladesh war and the 1972 exodus of Hutus from Burundi.

He later served as the coordinator for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan and during the first Gulf war in 1991.

Prince Sadruddin - an expert in Islamic art - was also head of two Geneva-based environmental groups.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service