The family of John Hume have announced that he has sadly passed away.
John was the leader of the SDLP from 1979-2001,
We are deeply saddened to announce that John passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning after a short illness.
We would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt thanks to the care and nursing staff of Owen Mor nursing home in Derry. The care they have shown John in the last months of his life has been exceptional. As a family, we are unfailingly inspired by the professionalism, compassion, and love they have shown to John and all those under their care. We can never adequately show them our thanks for looking after John at a time when we could not.The family drew great comfort in being with John again in the last days of his life.
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.
John’s funeral will be arranged according to the current government regulations with very strict rules on numbers. We realise this will mean that many will be unable to join us and we will arrange a memorial service and a celebration of his life in due course.Above all, we know that John would have prioritised public health, and the safety and health of our communities.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.
The SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood said this;
The death of John Hume represents the loss of 20th century Ireland’s most significant and consequential political figure. It is no exaggeration to say that each and every one of us now lives in the Ireland Hume imagined – an island at peace and free to decide its own destiny.
This is an historic moment on this island but most of all it is a moment of deep, deep sadness. In the days ahead, Ireland will be united in mourning his loss. However amidst that national mourning, it is equally true that the marking of John’s death also opens up a space to reflect on, and celebrate, the magnitude of his life.
As part of that reflection of John’s work, never has the beatitude rung truer – blessed be the peacemakers. The life of John Hume will forever be a blessing upon this island since Ireland is now blessed by the peace he gifted to us all. It is the greatest legacy a political leader can bestow upon his country.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs