Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet and playwright, has died.
Born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, in Co Derry, Northern Ireland, Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
The 74-year-old former teacher moved to Dublin in his later years and is survived by his wife Marie, and children Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.
He had been in hospital after suffering a short illness, his family said. Seamus Heaney has been described as a “humble, modest man”
“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 was educated at St Columb’s College in Derry, a Catholic boarding school, and later at Queen’s University Belfast, before making his home in Dublin, with periods of teaching in the US.
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.
His world-renowned poetry first came to public attention in the mid-1960s with his first major collection, Death Of A Naturalist, published in 1966.
As the troubles took hold later that decade, his experiences were seen through the darkened mood of his work.
His upbringing also played out in the poetry he wrote in later years.
He donated his personal literary notes to the National Library of Ireland in December 2011, joining the ranks of Irish literary master James Joyce and fellow Nobel winner WB Yeats.
During his literary career he held prestigious posts at Oxford University and at Harvard in the US.
He once praised the lyrics of US rapper Eminem, saying that the American singer had “sent a voltage around a generation” with his shocking lyrics about gun crime, gangs, rape and homosexuality.
Ireland’s Arts Minister, Jimmy Deenihan, praised Heaney for his work as a literary great but also for promoting Ireland.
“He was just a very humble, modest man. He was very accessible,” he said.
“Anywhere I have ever travelled in the world and you mention poetry and literature and the name of Seamus Heaney comes up immediately.”
Mr Deenihan recently joined Heaney at an event at the Irish Embassy in Paris where the poet gave readings to an audience of 1,000 invited guests.
“He was a huge figure internationally, a great ambassador for literature obviously, but also for Ireland,” the minister said.
- Related Stories
- Nobel Poet Plays Tribute To Eminem