Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer passes away aged 58
Victims' campaigner William Frazer has passed away at the age of 58.
Mr Frazer died at Craigavon Area Hospital surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer.
He was the leader of Markethill-based victims’ group the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU), he had battled ill health for several years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.
Five of his close family — including his father — were murdered in the Armagh area during the Troubles.
Mr Frazer is survived by his wife Ann and son Phillip.
Family pastor Barrie Halliday announced the news of Mr Frazer's passing on Friday afternoon.
"It is with great sadness that I personally announce that at 3.55pm William Frazer passed away and went into the near presence of God," he said.
"On behalf of myself, speaking on behalf of the family, we have been overwhelmed by the support, the prayers, the good wishes of the people.
"This afternoon, one of the best sons that Ulster ever had left this old world, left pain and sadness behind him and went home.
"He died peacefully with his family around him. There will be people very keen to give an opinion on William. We thought the world of him as a father, a husband, as a great friend and this afternoon we ask people to have respect, to give the Frazer's privacy, time to deal with the situation.
"When the time comes we will announce the funeral to which everyone will be very, very welcome. A true son of Ulster has fallen this afternoon."
Mr Frazer's father Bertie was part-time UDR man and council worker who was murdered by the IRA on August 30 1975.
He founded the Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) group in 1998 to advocate on behalf of victims of republican violence.
Mr Frazer stood down from the group in 2012 after it lost funding.
Aside from his campaigning on behalf of victims Mr Frazer was also a key figure in the loyalist flag protests in 2012.
He also ran for election on a number of occasions on various unionist and loyalist platforms, however he failed to be successful.
A number of public figures paid tribute to Mr Frazer on Friday evening after the news of his passing broke.
Really sorry to learn of William’s death. I worked with him from my earliest days in politics. He suffered great loss & campaigned for justice with incredible passion. He feared no man. The last few weeks have been tough. My sympathies to his family & all who mourn his passing. https://t.co/iQai8tCQE6— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) June 28, 2019
Sincere condolences to the family and friends of William Fraser on his passing. The fearless tenacity with which he pursued innocent victims’ issues will be part of his legacy. The vile hatred he stirred from IRA types bears testimony to his success.— Jim Allister (@JimAllister) June 28, 2019
Heartbroken. Farewell my friend. 🇬🇧❤️ pic.twitter.com/2w9bNuflGT— Jamie Bryson (@JamieBrysonCPNI) June 28, 2019
Willie Frazer died as he lived, fighting until the very end. Proud that he was my friend, we shared some amazing times together, even finding ourselves locked up 23 hours a day for a period in 2013 over the union flag 🇬🇧. Goodbye my friend, you were the greatest of them all. pic.twitter.com/0y8tlGQyiz— Jamie Bryson (@JamieBrysonCPNI) June 28, 2019
The Secretary of State sends her condolences to the loved ones of the victims' campaigner William Frazer. Her thoughts are with them at this difficult time.— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) June 28, 2019
Sincerest condolences to Willie's family and friends at this sad time. Wishing them comfort in their grief.https://t.co/XJNjzz97qA— Naomi Long MEP (@naomi_long) June 28, 2019
So sad to hear this. My thoughts and sympathies with William's family, friends, colleagues and wider circle.— Ann Travers (@AnnTravers6) June 28, 2019
Victims campaigner Willie Frazer passes away https://t.co/NMZ7nS5urw
There are those who will have never agreed with Willie Fraser - but he was a victim and was shaped by the atrocities perpetrated on his family.— Doug Beattie (@BeattieDoug) June 28, 2019
My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. https://t.co/Db4LuQt5RP
Sympathy and condolences to the family of Willie Frazer. Across our troubled past, he and his family suffered greatly. This defined his life, including becoming a determined campaigner. https://t.co/9WRT4Y3Tkq— Stephen Farry (@StephenFarryMLA) June 28, 2019
Very sorry to hear of the passing of Willie Frazer, a fearless and relentless campaigner for victims of terrorism. Thoughts and prayers with his family— peter weir (@peterweirmla) June 28, 2019
Very sad news to learn that Willie Frazer has passed away. My thoughts are with his family at this time. They can be forever proud of a man who fought so hard for his family and community.— George Dorrian (@georgedorrian) June 28, 2019
William Frazer was a victim. While deeply troubled by the atrocities against him & his family, he campaigned & supported other victims. My condolences to his family & friends. https://t.co/FJpm5jCgLh— Claire Sugden (@ClaireSugden) June 28, 2019
Deeply saddened to hear of Willie Fraser’s death. He suffered such terrible tragedy at the hands of terrorists. My prayers and thoughts are with his loved ones. https://t.co/2fchWypAOt— Diane Dodds MEP (@DianeDoddsMEP) June 28, 2019
William Frazer was a man who suffered more than most. He was true to the memory of his family and friends cut down by the IRA. "Blessed are those who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them".— Christopher Stalford (@CStalfordMLA) June 28, 2019
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