By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah SAMUEL ABULUDE, Lagos and Innocent Odoh with agencies
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined other world leaders to extend his condolences to Her Majesty the Queen of England over the death of her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburg, who passed on peacefully at the age of 99.
A statement issued by Buckingham Palace just after midday yesterday spoke of the Queen’s “deep sorrow” following the Duke’s death at Windsor Castle earlier in the morning.
The statement said, “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband. The Royal Family joins with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The palace said further announcements would be made “in due course”.
Reacting to the death of the longest serving Queen’s consort, President Buhari, in a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu described the late Duke as a man of uncommon character.
“The death of the Duke of Edinburgh is the end of an era. Prince Philip was one of the greatest and publicly recognisable international figures whose contributions to the Commonwealth will be remembered for generations to come,” he said.
According to the President Buhari, “Prince Philip was a great man in his own right who made enormous contributions to philanthropic activities and charities, especially for wildlife conservation and youth development programmes in more than 130 countries.”
President Buhari paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh as “a remarkable husband who had been happily married to the Queen since 1947,” saying “this is an impressive record for any marriage at any level.”
The president also commiserated with the government of the United Kingdom and the members of the Commonwealth “for the sad loss of this royal and indeed global icon.”
As news of the duke’s death rippled through this royal borough, other world leaders began to send tributes just as people started to gather outside the gates of Windsor castle.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Duke “inspired the lives of countless young people”.
Speaking at Downing Street, the prime minister said that the duke had “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.”
Commonwealth leaders led international reactions to the duke’s death. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted that the duke “embodied a generation that we will never see again”, while Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Philip as a “man of great purpose and conviction”.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled Philip for his “distinguished career in the military” and work “at the forefront of many community service initiatives”.
Meanwhile, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the late duke “consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service.”
In March, the duke left King Edward VII’s hospital in central London after a month-long stay for treatment. He underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at another London hospital – St Bartholomew’s.
The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast and a notice was posted on the gates following the announcement of the duke’s death. He was the longest-serving consort in British history.
Bunches of daffodils, tulips, roses and lilies were among floral tributes placed by people outside the palace, while crowds began to gather at Windsor Castle.
The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said it was “a moment of real national sadness” and “a moment of sadness, most particularly, of course, for the Queen losing her husband of 73 years – a bigger span of years than most of us can imagine”.
He said Prince Philip had made “a huge contribution to the success of the Queen’s reign”, describing the duke as “utterly loyal in his belief in the importance of the role that the Queen was fulfilling – and in his duty to support her”.
“It was the importance of the solidity of that relationship, of their marriage, that was so crucial to the success of her reign,” he added.
The prince married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became Queen. The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Their first son, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was born in 1948, followed by his sister, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, in 1950, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in 1960 and the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in 1964.
Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on June 10, 1921. His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes.
His mother, Princess Alice, was a daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Philip joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18, after being educated in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. He was in the navy throughout the Second World War, serving with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.
After the war, King George VI granted him permission to marry Elizabeth. Before their engagement was officially announced in July 1947, he gave up his Greek and Danish royal titles, became a naturalised British subject, and took on the surname of his maternal grandparents – Mountbatten. He was then given a title, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Meanwhile politicians across the UK were also united in mourning following the announcement of the duke’s death.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the UK had “lost an extraordinary public servant”, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said his “long contribution to public life in Scotland will leave a profound mark on its people”.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the duke “served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit”.
Parliament will honour the duke on Monday, with the House of Commons sitting at 14:30 BST for tributes following his death.
Parties have also suspended their campaigning for elections on May 6, which will see voters head to the polls for council and mayoral positions in England, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Parliament.
American Rapper, DMX, Passes On
The rapper, who was hospitalized last Friday night after suffering a heart attack, had been on a life support machine and in coma, with his family and friends asking his fans to pray for him to make it.
He was scheduled to undergo brain function tests on Wednesday.
Initial reports said DMX, who was one of the most popular rappers to emerge in the 90s, suffered the heart attack after a drug overdose.
“We are deeply saddened to announce today (Friday) that our loved one, DMX, birth name – Earl Simmons, passed away at 50 years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days,” his family said in a statement.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever.