Muhammad Hassanein Heikal, a leading Egyptian journalist, author, television celebrity, politician and a noted authority on modern Middle East whose work brought him worldwide fame and influence, died on Wednesday, aged 92.
Egyptian state television said Heikal, a heavy cigar smoker, died following a short period of illness.
As Egypt’s, and probably the Arab world’s, oldest active and most celebrated intellectual, Heikal was perceived by critics and admirers as a towering figure who had continued to attract attention until his death.
Above all, Heikal was one of the most trenchant defenders of Nasserite Egypt and its pan-Arabism trends.
Heikal was born on September 23, 1923, to the family of a wheat merchant in the Nile Delta province of Qalyubia. His father thought that Heikal, as the eldest son in the family, should join him in managing his business. Instead, Heikal decided to pursue his education. Read more