Glenroe actor Mick Lally has passed away in hospital today following a short illness.
The 64-year-old former teacher, who co-founded the now Druid Theatre in Galway in 1975, was most famous for his role as Miley Byrne in RTE's long-running television series.
More recently he had appeared in a minor role in Oliver Stone’s feature film ‘Alexander’ and provided a voice for the animated film ‘The Secret of Kells’.
A spokeswoman for the theatre company said everyone was devastated at the news.
Culture Minister Mary Hanafin led tributes to the renowned actor, who grew up in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo.
She extended her heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Peggy, their children, Saileog, Darach and Maghnus, and the entire theatrical world which is in deep mourning.
"Mick Lally's contribution to the theatrical world has been immense," she said.
"Whether he was voicing Keane, Synge or indeed Burrows, his was a distinctive, inimitable contribution to our stage and screen craft.
"His wonderful ability to communicate with his audiences, whether in the intimate setting in the early days of Druid, on stage in the National Theatre or in the sitting rooms of homes every Sunday for over 10 years playing the character of Miley in Glenroe, Mick Lally was an integral part of the world of acting and, by extension, our society."
Labour Party president Michael D Higgins said: "He was a consistent supporter of causes where rights were at stake, a native Irish speaker and he was at the forefront of development of the Irish language in an open and generous way.
"A supporter of socialist causes, he had courage and consistency in his idealism."