Aug 30 2013
Nobel poet laureate Seamus Heaney has been remembered as one of Ireland's finest literary minds following his death after a short illness.
The farmer's son died in hospital in Dublin aged 74. Friends, contemporaries, admirers and politicians revealed a humble, warm, funny and open man as tributes flowed in from around the world.
Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.
Irish prime minister Enda Kenny said it would take Heaney himself to describe the depth of loss Ireland would feel over his death. "He is mourned - and deeply - wherever poetry and the world of the spirit are cherished and celebrated," he said.
The 1995 Nobel prize-winner was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, on a small farm called Mossbawn near Bellaghy in Co Derry, Northern Ireland, and his upbringing often played out in the poetry he wrote in later years.
His publisher Faber and Faber issued a statement on behalf of the family and went on to describe the poet as a world great and an inspiration for the company.
A spokeswoman for Faber and Faber said: "His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his poetry over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss."
Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.
Heaney was educated at St Columb's College, Derry, a Catholic boarding school, and later at Queen's University Belfast, before making his home in Dublin, with periods of teaching in Oxford University and in the US, including at Harvard. He was an honorary fellow at Trinity College Dublin and last year was bestowed with the Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing at the university, which he described as a great honour.
Irish president Michael D Higgins said his contribution "to the republics of letters, conscience, and humanity was immense". "As tributes flow in from around the world, as people recall the extraordinary occasions of the readings and the lectures, we in Ireland will once again get a sense of the depth and range of the contribution of Seamus Heaney to our contemporary world, but what those of us who have had the privilege of his friendship and presence will miss is the extraordinary depth and warmth of his personality," he said.