(CNN) -- Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a key U.S. ally in the war against Iraq and a notable supporter of women's rights in the tiny Gulf country, died Sunday, according to a government statement. He was 77.
The emir had led the nation since 1977, but had been treated for heart problems and other health issues in recent years.
The emir's successor will be Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, formerly the crown prince, the government announced at a Cabinet meeting. The new emir has one year to announce who will be the new crown prince.
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