Seamus Heaney dies aged 74

Shelley Marsden

The world-famous poet has died aged 74

Seamus Heaney was born near Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, but as a child moved to Bellaghy.

He was a teacher before he began his career as a poet, which led to him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

Heaney had been awarded several prizes and received many accolades for his work. He had recently been suffering from ill health, and died in a Dublin hospital.

“The death has taken place of Seamus Heaney. The poet and Nobel Laureate died in hospital in Dublin this morning after a short illness,” a statement on behalf of the family said.

“The family has requested privacy at this time.”

Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness tweeted: “Very shocked and deeply saddened to hear that Seamus Heaney, Derryman, poet and Nobel Laureate has died. My thoughts & prayers with Marie and family”.

SDLP assembly member for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Seamus Heaney who leaves a tremendous cultural legacy to the people not just of his native South Derry but to the literary world.

“Seamus Heaney was the voice of this community, a man of the people who knew his community well and reflected the history and cultural richness of that community. I remember him calling into my father’s business when I was younger and being struck by his humility.”

Seamus Heaney was a long-standing supporter of Amnesty International. He wrote the well-known poem, From the Republic of Conscience, for the organisation in 1985.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

“Seamus Heaney, by his words and actions, spoke not just to people in Ireland but across the world. Through the beauty and elegance of his writing, Seamus Heaney reminded us of the bonds which unite and our duty to uphold the dignity of all.”

Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.

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