Ian Paisley dead: Nigel Farage leads tributes 'The only man I've shared a platform with who made me feel shy'

The former First Minister of Northern Ireland passed away aged 88

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The Independent Online

UKIP leader Nigel Farage was among the first to honour the late Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley.

“Dr Ian Paisley RIP,” he posted on Twitter. “A good friend to me in my early day in politics. The only man I've shared a platform with who made me feel shy.”

He was joined in his tribute by Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, who served alongside him as deputy First Minister from 8 May 2007.

“Very sad to learn that Ian Paisley has died,” he wrote. “My deepest sympathy to his wife Eileen and family. Once political opponents - I have lost a friend.”

George Galloway joined them with the following: “Sorry to hear of the death of Rev Ian Paisley. May God have mercy upon him and forgive his errors. As a private man he was good and kind”.

His death was announced by his wife Eileen.

“My beloved husband, Ian, entered his eternal rest this morning,” she said.

“Although ours is the grand hope of reunion, naturally as a family we are heartbroken.

”We loved him and he adored us, and our earthly lives are forever changed.

“According to Ian's wishes his funeral will be private and attended only by the immediate family, as will be his burial.

Video: The impact of Ian Paisley - London Live

"As a family we appreciate that there will be an expectation by those who admired him to express their gratitude for his life and their sorrow at his passing.

“To that end we will in due course publish details of a public memorial service which, will be scheduled later in the year.

"There will be no further comment or statements made by me or the family at this time."

Born on 6 April 1926, he was the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party from 1971 to 2008.

He was also the founding member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster for 57 years.

In June 2010, he was made a life peer in then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Dissolution Honours List, and was ennobled as Baron Bannside of North Antrim.

In 2012, after he was treated in intensive care following heart failure.