The Egyptian businessman, whose business interests in the UK included Harrods department store and Fulham FC, was 94. MailOnline understands he died on August 31 – exactly 26 years after his son Dodi.
He was born in Alexandria and moved to the UK in the 1960s, becoming an early driving force in the development of Dubai, and he later bought House of Fraser, including Harrods, with his brothers, as well as the Ritz hotel in Paris, which he owned up until his death.
A funeral service was held at London Central Mosque in Regents Park on Friday – following Islamic conventions to bury the dead within 24 hours.
Sources told the MailOnline that Mr Al-Fayed died on Thursday night, and that Janazah (funeral) prayers were held at the mosque on Friday.
Mohamed Al Fayed, former owner of Harrods and Fulham FC, is dead at 94
Mohamed Al-Fayed pictured alongside Diana, Princess of Wales at a charity event held at Harrods in London in 1996
Mr Al-Fayed later unveiled a statue of Diana and his son Dodi in Harrods commemorating their lives – the slogan ‘innocent victims’ is inscribed on its base
Dodi Al-Fayed, son of Mohamed Al-Fayed and a film producer, was killed alongside Diana in Paris in 1997
A funeral service was held for Mohamed Al Fayed on Friday at London Central Mosque in Regents Park
‘The service went ahead as planned,’ a source said. ‘The prayers were held in the mosque after Friday prayer – the prayer for the deceased.’
Despite his vast business interests Mr Al-Fayed was probably best known for his continued search for answers to questions surrounding the death of his son Dodi, who was killed in a car crash in Paris alongside Diana, Princess of Wales on August 31 1997 – 26 years before his own death.
Diana and Dodi left the Ritz in Paris in the early hours of August 31 and were being driven away from paparazzi by Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the hotel, when Paul lost control of the car and struck a pillar at around 65mph.
Mr Al-Fayed opened his own private investigation into the crash after being dissatisfied with the official investigations.
A 2008 inquest concluded that Dodi and Diana were unlawfully killed by a combination of Paul’s driving under the influence of alcohol, the fact neither were wearing seatbelts – and because of the erratic driving of paparazzi pursuing them through the early morning Paris streets.
Nevertheless, Mr Al-Fayed reportedly muttered to journalists as he left the court: ‘The most important thing is it’s murder.’
He was later immortalised in Netflix series The Crown, played by Israeli actor Salim Daw, who will return to play the businessman in the next series, which will deal with the crash that killed his son and the Princess of Wales.
One episode of the show charts Mr Al-Fayed’s rise to fame and eventual meeting with Princess Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki.
Daw described him as an ‘incredible, fascinating character’ to play, telling Radio Times: ‘He’s so motivated to be on the top that this actually dictates the way he lives his life and the way he behaves.’
Mohammed Al Fayed’s coffin before the service on Friday
Funeral prayers were held for Mr Al-Fayed after his death on Thursday. Islamic conventions dictate that the deceased should be buried within 24 hours
Alongside his brothers, Al-Fayed bought House of Fraser in the 1980s, which included London department store Harrods in Knightsbridge.
He retained ownership of the store after the Frasers group entered public trading until 2010, when he sold it to Qatar Holding.
He also earned the respect of Fulham FC fans after buying the West London professional side for £6m in 1997 – and his cash injection saw the team punch its way into the Premier League and European competition within a few years.
Mr Al-Fayed sold the side to billionaire businessman Shahid Khan in 2013 for $300 million.
Earlier this year, his wealth was estimated at $2billion (roughly £1.58million), ranking at number 1,493 globally.
And in May last year, Forbes listed his wealth at $1.9billion – which is about £1.6billion.
Before Dodi’s death in 1997, Mr Al-Fayed also became known to the British public for his involvement in the ‘cash-for-questions’ scandal.
Alongside his brothers, Mr Al-Fayed bought a stake in House of Fraser, later buying the entire company – including prestigious Knightsbridge department store Harrods, which he kept until 2010
Mr Al-Fayed bought Fulham FC in 1997, with his cash injection helping to send the club into the Premier League and European competitions in just a few years. He is pictured here in 2011
Mohamed Al-Fayed pictured in Paris in 2016. He sold Harrods and Fulham FC – his largest British business interests – in 2010 and 2013 respectively
Mr Al-Fayed – seen here leaving the Royal Courts of Justice in 2007. The inquest into the death of his son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales, concluded the pair were killed after
It saw MPs resign in disgrace after failing to declare that they had been paid by the Egyptian to ask questions in parliament.
He approached the Guardian newspaper with the allegations in 1994, which led to the resignation of MP Tim Smith.
Another MP, Neil Hamilton, was found to have accepted bribes, including a holiday at the Ritz and a free shopping spree at Harrods.
He did not stand down, but the scandal led to him being inextricably associated with sleaze and he lost his seat at the 1997 general election.
The questions related to controversy over Mr Al-Fayed’s ownership of Harrods, and the businessman says he was approached by lobbyist Ian Greer to grease the palms of willing MPs.
Mr Al-Fayed was married twice: first to Saudi Arabian author Samira Khashoggi from 1953 to 1956, with whom he had Dodi.
In 1985, he married Finnish socialite and former model Heini Wathén, with whom he had four children: Jasmine, Karim, Camilla, and Omar.