Bishop of Derry Edward Daly has died a hero after he raised a blood-soaked handkerchief and guided a dying teenager through army gunfire on Bloody Sunday, a grateful relative has said.
The cleric, who died yesterday aged 82, was a life-long critic of all violence.
As a young priest he famously waved the bloodied rag as a symbol of ceasefire as he helped fatally injured civil rights protester Jackie Duddy in Derry in January 1972.
He fought to clear the names of all the victims after paratroopers opened fire and killed 13 people. Fourteen were injured, and another was to die later.
"He was such a special friend to us because of Bloody Sunday, because of what he did for Jackie in his dying moments when he was there with him, it just meant the world to us that Jackie did not die on his own," said Mr Duddy's older sister, Kay.
Bloody Sunday has been described as one of the catalysts of IRA recruitment and the 30-year conflict that left more than 3,000 people dead and many others injured.
Demonstrators seeking one man, one vote and other concessions from the unionist-dominated government of Northern Ireland had gathered for a march in Derry.
Dr Daly was a curate aged 39 from Belleek in rural Co Fermanagh who served at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry.
He joined the march as it passed the cathedral en route to the city centre. Amid chaotic scenes soldiers opened fire.
Dr Daly was near textile worker Mr Duddy (17) when he was shot by soldiers, and gave him the last rites. Then he led the way with a handkerchief in his hand as he and other marchers tried to take him to safety.
Dr Daly was a prominent witness at the Widgery inquiry soon after the event, which exonerated troops from the Parachute Regiment.
Ms Duddy said: "He always said he would fight to his dying breath to make sure our loved ones' names were cleared. He was an unsung hero."
After a mammoth inquiry by Lord Saville, the demonstrators were exonerated in 2010 and prime minister David Cameron said the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, lauded him as a fearless peace builder who took a personal interest in those who suffered miscarriages of justice.
He was Bishop of Derry from 1974 until 1993, stepping aside after suffering a stroke.
His funeral will be held in the city on Thursday.