Events taking place around the world to mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death

President Higgins has reflected on the "immense contribution" of Shakespeare to world literature and the English language

Events will take place around the world today to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Although details of his death remain uncertain, it is widely believed that he died in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 23rd in 1616, aged 52.

Today is also the day the Bard's birthday is traditionally celebrated.

A parade is being held in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the occasion, while Barack Obama earlier visited the reconstruction of the playwright's Globe Theatre in London as part of his visit to the UK.

President Michael D Higgins says the 400th anniversary gives us occasion to recall the immense contribution he made to world literature and especially to the English language.

In a statement, President Higgins says it was important for him - as the first President of Ireland to pay a state visit to the UK - to visit Stratford and attend the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"During that visit, I spoke of the influence of Ireland on Shakespeare and on the wider tradition of literature in the English language," President Higgins said.

"That tradition continues today, and on this occasion of his quadricentennial, we celebrate how literature and in particular the genius of William Shakespeare help us understand our world and enrich our daily lives," he added.

Actor Ian McKellen says that, centuries later, Shakespeare is still an inspiration, and is "the most famous, celebrated Englishman whoever lived":

Judi Dench - who will join McKellen and other well known actors for BBC's Shakespeare Live event tonight - says she owes a lot to the great storyteller, saying "I only ever did Shakespeare for the first five years of my career":