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Northern Ireland Nobel Peace Prize laureate John Hume dies at 83

Simon Roughneen and Lennart Simonsson, DPA on

Published in News & Features

DUBLIN -- Former Northern Ireland politician and Nobel Peace laureate John Hume has died at the age of 83, it was reported on Monday.

Hume's family said they were "deeply saddened to announce that John passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning after a short illness," according to a statement by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), which Hume co-founded.

Hume shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble, who was head of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

Leaders of the two biggest parties in Northern Ireland at the time, the men were awarded the prize for their efforts to end three decades of violence in Northern Ireland via the so-called Good Friday Agreement.

Their partnership crossed the region's ethnic and sectarian divide, with Hume's SDLP campaigning for the nonviolent unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland and the UUP seeking to keep the region under British rule.

Speaking on RTE, Ireland's public broadcaster, Trimble -- who was the first head of the regional administration set up in Belfast after the 1998 agreement -- said that "from the outset of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, he (Hume) was opposed to violence."

 

Mark Durkan, a confidant of Hume's who succeeded him as SDLP leader, described the peace agreement as based on Hume's "blueprint."

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin described Hume as "a great hero and peacemaker" who was "one of the towering figures of Irish public life of the last century."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Hume "stood proudly in the tradition that was totally opposed to violence."

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who pushed for the 1998 deal while in office, said: "His legacy will live on in every generation of Northern Ireland's young people who make John's choice, to live free of the hatred and horror of sectarian violence."

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