Hafez al-Assad (Arabic: حافظ الأسد, Ḥāfiẓ al-Asad; 6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was president of Syria from 1971 until his death. He was also the general of Syrian Air Force from 1955 - 1972. He was born in Qardaha and died in Damascus. He had four sons and a daughter. His eldest son Bassel al-Assad died in 1994. In 2000, al-Assad died of a heart attack. He was succeeded as president by his second-oldest son Bashar al-Assad (born 1965), who still has that job.