Seamus Heaney, one of the world's best-known poets and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for literature, has died aged 74 after a short illness, his family said on Friday (August 30).
Northern Ireland-born Heaney, one of the world's foremost poets writing in English whose works include his 1966 debut "Death of a Naturalist", "The Spirit Level" and "District and Circle", died in a Dublin hospital on Friday morning.
"The poet and Nobel Laureate died in hospital in Dublin this morning after a short illness," said a statement on behalf of the Heaney family released by his publishers Faber and Faber.
Heaney was a rarity among poets, having won acclaim from critics while producing best-sellers. It once took him three hours to walk down Dublin's main street as autograph hunters pursued him.
Born on a farm in Mossbawn, County Derry in Northern Ireland in 1939, Heaney's poems nostalgically recall the sights and smells of a country childhood, revelling in the recurring images of Irish potato diggers and peat bog cutters.
He was a tousle-haired figure with a shy and subtle manner, who hated media hype and publishers' publicity caravans even as he became one of Ireland's most famous figures.
Shortly after it was announced he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, he told reporters it would not change his plans for the future.
''A writer's plans for the future are always hopeful, so my plans are hopeful. This is the way I have lived for the last thirty years so my circumstances have changed but my writing plans haven't changed. My circumstances have changed in that there are too many interviews,' he said at the time.
His death sparked immediate sorrow among poets and politicians and was the main story on Irish news bulletins north and south of the border.
Presented by Adam Justice