Great Britain

Prince Azim of Brunei dead at 38 – Sultan of Brunei’s son who partied with stars dies after ‘long battle with illness’

THE PLAYBOY son of the Sultan of Brunei who partied with the stars has died after a "long battle with illness" aged just 38.

Prince Azim, the Sultan's sixth child and fourth in the line to the throne, died in Bandar Seri Begawan at around 10am on Saturday.

His exact cause of death has not been confirmed, but local media reports he had been battling illness for some time.

Seven days of national mourning has been declared during which celebrations have been banned.

He was buried on the same day in keeping with Islamic tradition at a large ceremony attended by his family.

Azim, a Hollywood producer, was known for his playboy lifestyle and was often pictured rubbing shoulders with celebrities.

He attended and hosted lavish parties - being snapped posing alongside stars such as Pamela Anderson and Michael and Janet Jackson.

Other celebrity pals included Joan Collins, Mischa Barton and Scarlett Johansson.

Janet led tributes to Azim, posting on Instagram: "Azim, I love you too and inshahAllah no more pain.

"In the name of the most high, the most merciful, He will take care of you now. Ameen.”

The prince worked on films including You're Not You starring Hilary Swank, and Dark Places starring Charlize Theron.

Just like his dad Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, he was known for his fantastic wealth - with an estimated net worth of some $5billion.

And he used that wealth to entertain his famous pals, saying he was aware of his good fortune and wanted to share it.

Celeb guests at his parties are said to have come away with party bags worth up to £20,000 head.

One included a voucher for a safari holiday in Kenya, a new mobile phone, a satellite navigation system, an original oil painting and a full dental makeover with a private dentist

Azim formed an unlikely friendship with late reality TV star Jade Goody after watching her on Celebrity Big Brother.

Jade described him as a "brilliant mate" and said the two met and "got on like a house on fire".

The pair were pictured out partying together in 2007

He gifted Jade a ring as a "token of friendship" which she claimed was worth around £3million.

It later turned out to only be worth around £30,000.

Jade dubbed him "my prince charming", and described him as "wicked" - while pals said the prince found her "intriguing".

Azim is said to attempted win the affections of Mariah Carey by sending her a $5.7million necklace via private jet before she went on stage at Madison Square Garden.

And he is claimed to have booked out 20 rows of seats for his pals when Usher performed in London in 2001.

He also sent the American R&B star a singer a pair of diamond-encrusted Nike trainers.

His life saw him go through various projects, including designing unisex bags for fashion label MCM.

All proceeds from the bags sale ended up going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation charity for critically ill children in Britain.

And he even wrote a novel, titled Scandalous, but it was never published.

Azim also was a musician, but didn't go further than messing around with friends in a studio - confessing "I don't have the face to be a singer".

Azim spent much of his life based at the Sultan's lavish home in Kensington Palace Gardens - but grew up at his dad's 1,700 room palace in Brunei.

His dad had originally envisaged a career for him in the military, sending him to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for a nine-month officer training course.

The party-loving prince however is said to have dropped out after just one week.

Disney characters were originally flown in for his birthdays, but it is claimed as he grew older private entertainment for him and his guests included Elton John and Rod Stewart.

As well as his work in the arts, he was also known as a champion of the LGBT community, despite laws passed by his dad which decreed gay people could be stoned to death.

Azim, who studied in the UK at Oxford Brookes University, also campaigned for people with autism and worked with a number of charities.

Speaking in 2008, Azim said: "I’m grateful to have what I have, and I like to share it.

"My mother was good in making us realise that material things aren’t everything.

"If I had nothing tomorrow, I’d be able to live my life and still be happy and enjoy it, because I don’t need all this gold.

"I just need email and Twinkie rolls.”

Glee star Kevin McHale said: "Prince Azim was always so generous and welcoming - a true light. This is so sad."

Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton said: "Azim, your humor and generosity and grace are what I will remember most.

"Thank you for the kind words you left me with about my children. I know how important your family was to you."

Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said Azim "was known for his kind and generous spirit, and for his dedication to charitable, educational, and youth causes".

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei says the country has a 'fair and happy nation', despite criticism for Sharia laws

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