The party-loving son of the Sultan of Brunei has died at the age of 38 after prolonged treatment for a serious illness, the state media said.
Prince Azim, the sixth child of the Sultan and fourth on the throne, died on Saturday around 10 a.m. in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
In accordance with Islamic tradition, his funeral took place the same day before seven days of national mourning was declared, during which celebrations are forbidden.
Although Azim's exact cause of death was not clear, some reports suggested that he had suffered from cancer.
Known as a member of the international jet set, Azim has often been rubbed over the shoulders at lavish parties in Europe and the US with celebrities.
Prince Azim, the 38-year-old son of the Sultan of Brunei (left with Mischa Barton and right with Scarlett Johansson, both in 2005), has died at the age of 38
Azim died Saturday morning in the capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, and was buried that same evening in a ceremony attended by his father
Azim's net worth was estimated at $ 5 billion at the time of his death, according to Media, Entertainment and Arts Worldwide.
Michael Jackson, Pamela Anderson and Joan Collins have been photographed with the Prince over the years, including at his 30th birthday bash.
Other celebrity friends were Mischa Barton and Scarlett Johansson.
He also hosted parties that were attended by a number of gay and transgender rights advocates, including Caitlyn Jenner, Mariah Carey, and openly gay skier Gus Kenworthy.
Azim's open support for the LGBT community sparked rumors that he was also gay, although he never openly discussed his sexuality.
His stance attracted particular attention in 2019 when his father Hassanal Bolkiah announced a new law that could have gay people stoned to death.
The rule banned gay sex, which had to be independently witnessed in order to achieve conviction.
Bolkiah said at the time that the law was part of a drive for "stronger" Islamic teachings in his tiny Australasian nation on the island of Borneo.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah attends his son's funeral before announcing seven days of mourning that prohibits conversation
Prince Azim (left with Pamela Anderson and right with Joan Collins) was known as a supporter of the LGBT community as well as a children's charity
However, following international outcry, Bolkiah decided that a moratorium on the death penalty in Brunei should be extended to the new law.
This means that the Sultan has agreed not to officially stone the penalty for gay sex, although officially it is still death by stoning. Brunei has not carried out a public execution since 1957.
An announcement of the prince's death stated that wedding and birthday parties would still be allowed during the mourning period, although conversations at the events were prohibited.
Rumors that citizens are required to wear white armbands or white clothes – the color of mourning – during the week are false, the statement said.
On the day of the prince's death, flags were flown at half mast, he added.
Azim was born on July 29, 1982 in the capital Brunei – the sixth child and second son of Sultan Bolkiah, who was born to his second wife Hajah Mariam.
The prince studied at the Brunei International School, the government said before going to the Raffles Institution in Singapore and Oxford Brookes University in the UK.
Azim was known at home as a filmmaker, designer, and philanthropist who raised money for terminally ill and autistic children.
He never married and has no children.
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