Hume pays tribute to Seamus Heaney

Professor John Hume, pictured at a celebration event at the University of Ulster's Magee Campus marking the 75th birthday of the Nobel Laureate earlier this year, the centenary of Thomas P. O'Neill's birthday and the plans to establish the John Hume and Thomas P.O'Neill Chair in Peace at the University.  PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 9.9.12
Professor John Hume, pictured at a celebration event at the University of Ulster's Magee Campus marking the 75th birthday of the Nobel Laureate earlier this year, the centenary of Thomas P. O'Neill's birthday and the plans to establish the John Hume and Thomas P.O'Neill Chair in Peace at the University. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 9.9.12
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Former SDLP leader and Nobel peace laureate John Hume has expressed his deep sadness at the death of Seamus Heaney, who he described as a ‘lifelong friend.’

In a statement released this afternoon Mr. Hume said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of my good friend Seamus Heaney.

“His poetry expressed a special love of people, place and diversity of life. That profound regard for humanity has made his poetry a special channel for repudiating violence, injustice and prejudice, and urging us all to the better side of our human nature.

“I have always received great inspiration from his written word and I am deeply grateful for the personal encouragement that I always received from such a warm friend and a wise man. My heartfelt condolences go to Marie, Michael, Christopher, Catherine and his extended family at this very sad time.”

Foyle MP Mark Durkan also paid tribute to the internationally renowned Derry poet.

He said: “Seamus was a man of such decency and a poet of such eminence.

“He is one of Derry’s most famous sons and through the universal popularity of his work he has asserted such a huge influence on the arts scene globally.”