'Our hearts are broken' - Family of Martin McGuinness release 'thank you' statement
The wife of Martin McGuinness has thanked all those who offered their condolences this week and said the family's "hearts are broken".
Bernie McGuinness released a statement through Sinn Féin this morning, saying her family wished to thank everyone from those who attended vigils, to those who made sandwiches for the funeral.
The death of Martin McGuinness (66), a politician and one-time IRA commander, was announced in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
"On my own behalf and Martin’s family I want to thank all of those who have offered their condolences since Martin’s death, including the countless people who sent messages, mass cards and prayers," Mrs McGuinness said.
"I want to thank the doctors and the nurses who looked after Martin during his illness.
"I also want to express our deep appreciation of the many thousands of people who attended vigils in the course of the week in many parts of Ireland and overseas.
“From Martin’s return home on Tuesday, and until we left for the funeral service on Thursday, long queues of people visited our home. The family took great comfort from their presence. I want to thank the local businesses who during this time very kindly provided food and sandwiches for those visiting the house,"she continued.
Mrs McGuinness said they appreciated the "outpouring of love and solidarity" shown at her late husband's funeral on Thursday.
"Finally, I want to thank all of Martin’s comrades in Sinn Féin, especially here in Derry, the many stewards, the friends who travelled from overseas, and in particular all of those who attended or participated in the funeral service in Long Tower Church and at the Republican Plot, including the singers and the musicians," she continued.
"I and our entire family have been touched by the efforts of so many to provide solace and comfort to us throughout this very difficult period.
"Martin was my husband, a father and a grandfather.
"He was a republican activist for all of his adult life.
"He was passionate about his political beliefs but also about his many other interests.
"Despite the frequency with which his political activism took him away from our home and family, he was at heart a proud family man who took great delight in the accomplishments of our children and grandchildren. He loved his family. And we love him. Our hearts are broken."