|Seamus Heaney, acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since WB Yeats, has died aged 74.|
Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past".
Over his long career he was awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work.
He recently suffered from ill health.
His 2010 poetry collection The Human Chain was written after he suffered a stroke and the central poem, Miracle, was directly inspired by his illness.
Recalling how he had been lifted up and down the stairs to his bedroom, the poet eulogised the biblical characters who carried a paralysed man to Jesus to be healed.
"Their shoulders numb, the ache and stoop deeplocked / In their backs, the stretcher handles / Slippery with sweat. And no let up."
"The death has taken place of Seamus Heaney," said a short statement issued by his family on Friday.
"The poet and Nobel laureate died in hospital in Dublin this morning after a short illness. The family has requested privacy at this time."
Heaney's publisher, Faber, said: "We cannot adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers. His impact on literary culture is immeasurable.
"As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his work over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss."
The literary world won't be the same without him. R.I.P