THE former MP for South Down Eddie McGrady has died at the age of 78.
He was a founding member of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).
He was a former chairman of the party, a huge supporter of the peace process and well respected by all political sides in Northern Ireland.
His wife Patricia died in 2003. They have three children.
SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said Mr McGrady, who died this morning, was a man of integrity and faith and who had helped shape history.
Dr McDonnell added: "He helped define the politics of an era and build the peace of our lifetime.