John Hume, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the principal architects of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, has died at the age of 83.
Mr Hume, a former leader of the SDLP, received the award in 1998 "for [his] effort to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland."
He died in the early hours of this morning after a short illness, his family said.
In a statement, the Hume family extended their thanks to the staff of Owen Mor nursing home in Derry where Mr Hume had been cared for in recent months.
They said: "We would like also to extend our gratitude to the people of Derry and Moville/Greencastle, who have looked after John and shown us so much kindness as his dementia has progressed.
"John was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and a brother. He was very much loved, and his loss will be deeply felt by all his extended family."
Mr Hume's funeral will be arranged in line with government regulations on COVID-19 "with very strict rules on numbers".
A memorial service would be held "in due course", they added.
The statement added: "It seems particularly apt for these strange and fearful days to remember the phrase that gave hope to John and so many of us through dark times: we shall overcome.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said that Mr Hume's death "represents the loss of 20th century Ireland’s most significant and consequential political figure".
He said" It is no exaggeration to say that each and every one of us now lives in the Ireland Hume imagined – an island at peace and free to decide its own destiny.
"The life of John Hume will forever be a blessing upon this island since Ireland is now blessed by the peace he gifted to us all. It is the greatest legacy a political leader can bestow upon his country."
Main image: John Hume pictured in 2014. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images