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John Hume dead: Former SDLP leader and Nobel peace prize winner dies aged 83

Mr Hume, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize for efforts in forging the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, had suffered ill health for a number of years. The former Foyle MP had dementia and was cared for in the Owen Mor nursing home in Londonderry.

In a statement, Mr Hume’s family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that John passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning after a short illness.

“We would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt thanks to the care and nursing staff of Owen Mor nursing home in Derry.

“The care they have shown John in the last months of his life has been exceptional.

“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.

“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 Mr Hume was Ireland’s most significant and consequential political

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.

“This is an historic moment on this island but most of all it is a moment of deep, deep sadness. In the days ahead, Ireland will be united in mourning his loss.

“However, amidst that national mourning it is equally true that the marking of John’s death also opens up a space to reflect on, and celebrate, the magnitude of his life.

“As part of that reflection of John’s work, never has the beatitude rung truer – blessed be the peacemakers.

“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.”

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