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John Hume, Nobel Laureate for Work in Northern Ireland, Dies at 83

John Hume, a moderate Roman Catholic politician who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dogged and ultimately successful campaign to end decades of bloodshed in his native Northern Ireland, died on Monday in the northern city of Derry. He was 83.

His death, at a nursing home, was announced by his family in a statement, which did not give the cause, though his wife, Pat Hume, had earlier acknowledged that he was struggling with of dementia.

“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,” his family said.

Mr. Hume, a former French teacher who was known for a sharp wit but rarely for rhetorical flourishes, rose from hardscrabble beginnings to become the longtime leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party and a towering figure in the grinding and oft-thwarted drive to end 25 years of “The Troubles,” as Northern Ireland’s strife was known.

In his campaign for peace, inspired by the example of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he employed a winning combination of public exhortation against the violence of the Irish Republican Army and secret diplomacy with its political leadership, sitting down for talks in his modest rowhouse over coffee. Deftly and persistently he enlisted the White House to help him reach his goal.

His efforts were recognized when he shared the Nobel with the Protestant leader David Trimble in 1998, the year of the Good Friday peace agreement, which crowned his commitment to ending the unrest that had claimed more than 3,000 lives.

A television poll in the Irish Republic in 2010 proclaimed Mr. Hume “Ireland’s Greatest,” ahead of prominent contenders like the rock star Bono. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI awarded him a papal knighthood.

Read entire article at New York Times