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09.32 3 Aug 2020


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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.

Mr Hume was heavily involved in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland around the start of the Troubles and was elected to Stormont in 1969.

A founding member of the SDLP in 1970, he was leader from 1979 to 2001.

He faced a public backlash when six years of secret talks with Sinn Féin became public in 1993, but he defended his decision.

Then in 1998, his efforts of over 30 years paved the way for the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

His personal sacrifice and political willpower were recognised on the world stage when he, along with David Trimble, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

'We shall overcome'

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.

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.

"Celebrating community in all its diversity went to the heart of John’s political ethos and we are very appreciative that our communities supported, respected and protected John.

"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."

The statement said: "We are grateful for your condolences and support, and we appreciate that you will respect the family’s right to privacy at this time of great loss.

"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.

Mr Hume's funeral will take place at the Cathedral of St Eugene in Derry on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, his remains will leave Moville in Co Donegal to arrive at the Cathedral for 5pm.

Due to COVID-19, the ceremony will be held following public health guidelines with the Hume family saying a public memorial will be held at a later date.

Main image: John Hume pictured in 2014. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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