John Hume, the former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has died aged 83 after a short illness, earned a place in history as the father of the Northern Ireland peace process.
Mr Hume's family announced his passing, saying: "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."
John Hume spent his entire political career working to try to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and turn it into a united Ireland.
But he is best known for his efforts to secure peace and a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland which culminated in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Hume simply never gave up, although at one point his life was under constant threat, his house and car firebombed and the word 'Traitor' daubed on the walls of his home.
He responded by pushing the problems of Northern Ireland onto an international stage.
He formed close links with powerful political figures in Britain, America, Europe and Ireland to find a peaceful response.
Throughout his career Hume stuck firmly to the view that violence only deepened division.
"The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace - respect for diversity," he stressed in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
The eldest of seven children, John Hume was born on January 18, 1937. The family lived in a small terraced house in the Glen area of Londonderry.
When he passed the 11-plus exam he secured a place in secondary school, which his parents could not otherwise afford.
His first calling was to study for the priesthood in St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare, but he opted instead to become a secondary school teacher in his home town.
He married Patricia Hone in 1960 and the couple had five children, three daughters, Terese, Aine and Maureen, and two sons, Aidan and John.
Chronic social problems in Derry politicised the young teacher who decided that financial cooperation between all sides could lift people out of poverty. His solution was to help set up the first Credit Union in Northern Ireland.
Irish President Mary McAleese recalled being taken by her grandmother to a public meeting about the Credit Union where she heard Hume explain "what seemed like an exotic concept - people power."
Hume campaigned for civil rights. When police batoned participants in a march in 1968 it transformed the Civil Rights protest into a mass movement with Hume at the forefront.
By February of the following year he was elected as an Independent Nationalist to the Stormont Parliament.
He also made his first trip to America, to Boston and convinced the influential Ted Kennedy that there was an alternative to the IRA to get social justice in Northern Ireland.
From that point onwards Hume had the ear of every subsequent US President.
Deciding that politics was the way forward, in 1973 he was elected to the short-lived Northern Ireland Assembly and appointed Minister for Commerce.
A founding member of the SDLP, Hume became party leader in 1979, the same year he was elected to the European Parliament.
Four years later he took a seat at Westminster as the representative for Foyle and helped shape to Anglo-Irish Agreement which was signed two years later.
It gave the Irish government a formal role in the affairs of Northern Ireland.
The pivotal moment for Hume came in 1987 when he was on holidays with his wife in Gweedore in Donegal.
He was asked to meet Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the pair talked in secret over the next six years.
"The very purpose of our talks was to try and end all violence," said Gerry Adams.
When Adams was spotted going into Hume's house in 1993, Hume instantly became a target for loyalist paramilitaries and even his own party members disapproved.
"I wanted total peace in our streets and I knew that talking to Gerry Adams was a major way of doing that," Hume insisted.
Adams said later: "There wasn't somebody prepared to break the cycle and John Hume did that."
Hume was not deterred by hostility from all sides and declared he did not care "two balls of roasted snow" about all the criticism.
His wife Pat, however, described this period as a very turbulent one for her husband.
"He lost weight, he found it very difficult to sleep, the stress was unbelievable."
The talks ultimately led to the 1994 ceasefire between the IRA and the unionist paramilitaries.
At Easter 1998, the Northern Ireland political parties signed what became known as the Good Friday Agreement in which Hume played a leading role.
In the autumn of that year the Nobel Committee decided to award the Peace Prize to Hume and Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble.
Hume was also awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize and Martin Luther King Award and is the only person to get all three major peace awards.
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he said: "I want to see Ireland as an example to men and women everywhere of what can be achieved by living for ideals, rather than fighting for them and by viewing each and every person as worthy of respect and honour."
Television proved the ideal medium for Hume who was both articulate and persuasive. He knew how to work TV for the greatest impact.
He drew his inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr and quoted from them extensively. Hume became seriously ill at a peace conference in Austria in 1999 when his intestine ruptured.
He had to have three abdominal operations and was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.
Pat her husband "suffered some brain damage" as a result which caused memory problems.
While John could not remember things for more than half an hour he could still enjoy crosswords and the newspaper "so it could be worse".
"People love John. He can go out for a walk. Every taxi in the place will stop for him," she added.
After his retirement the memory difficulties intensified and became quite severe.
He announced a complete retirement from politics on February 4 2004 and did not contest the European election that year or the general election of the following year.
John Hume has been acknowledged as a man of intelligence, energy and passion and above all a peacemaker of world status.
John Hume's hope for Ireland was one of "partnership where we wage war on want and poverty, where we reach out to the marginalised and dispossessed, where we build together a future that can be as great as our dreams allow".
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.