Syria's presidential family in mourning: President Bashar Assad's brother, Majd Assad, passed away Saturday at a Damascus hospital.
According to Syrian reports, Assad's brother died at the age of 35 as result of an "incurable disease" he has been battling for a long time.
The youngest of late Syrian President Hafez Assad's children was married for 15 years but had no children. Although he possessed an electric engineering degree, unofficial reports in Syria claimed that he suffered from mental retardation.
President Assad issued an official announcement Saturday and said his brother's funeral will be held Sunday at 2:30 PM in his hometown on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Hafez Assad and his wife had five children, including four sons. His eldest, Basel, was designated as his father's successor and moved up the Syrian army ranks. However, the charismatic Basel was killed in a mysterious car accident in January 1994 not far from the Damascus International Airport.
Following this accident, Bashar Assad was urgently called back to Syria, where he was groomed to replace his father. He took the post of Syria's president in 2000.