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Martin McGuinness (1950 - 2017)

Getty / Phillip Massey

Martin McGuinness (1950 - 2017)

Martin McGuinness, the former deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, died Tuesday, March 21, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 66.

McGuinness was a member of the Sinn Fein Party, which announced his death after a brief illness.

McGuinness was the deputy first minister from May 2007 to January 2017 in a power-sharing deal between Roman Catholics and Protestants that was brokered by the United States in 1998. A former commander of the underground paramilitary Irish Republican Army, McGuinness was the member of Parliament representing Mid Ulster from 1997 until he resigned in 2013.

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James Martin Pacelli McGuinness was born May 23, 1950, in Derry. That community this week was already grieving the death of another Derry native, footballer Ryan McBride, who was found dead Sunday at his home.

Current and former leaders of Britain and Ireland paid tribute to McGuinness in reaction to his death.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said McGuinness' courage was essential to the peace process in Northern Ireland. Blair was in office when the accord between Northern Ireland's Protestant and Catholic political leaders was signed in 1998.

McGuinness "set aside that armed struggle in favor of making peace."

"I will remember him therefore with immense gratitude for the part he played in the peace process and with genuine affection for the man I came to know and admire for his contribution to peace."
Ireland's prime minister, Enda Kenny, said he was "deeply saddened to hear of the death of Martin McGuinness today. His passing represents a significant loss, not only to politics in Northern Ireland but to the wider political landscape on this island and beyond.

"His commitment to securing enduring peace and prosperity for all of the people of Northern Ireland was unwavering throughout this time. He strove to make Northern Ireland a better place for everyone, regardless of background or tradition."

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