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The former IRA commander turned Northern Ireland peace negotiator Martin McGuinness, has died at the age of 66.

A committed republican, he ended up administering British rule in a power-sharing government in Belfast and even met and shook hands with the Queen.

Sinn Féin, in a statement, said McGuinness passed away in Londonderry during the night, and would be “sorely missed by all who knew him”.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin president, said in a statement today:

Throughout his life Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness.

He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification of his country. But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both.

More than any other personality in Northern Ireland’s recent history, McGuinness embodied the transformation from militant gunman to royal handshaking peacemaker. The one-time second-in-command of the Provisional IRA in Londonderry whom British officials say was responsible for some of the group’s bloodiest tactics, he went on to become the province’s deputy first minister and its most effective and thoughtful political leader as it emerged from three decades of strife to experience a fragile but enduring peace.

You can read the full obituary here.

(Photo: PA.)

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