Ian Paisley dead: Northern Ireland's former First Minister passes away aged 88

He was elected as the First Minister, alongside Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness as deputy First Minister, on 8 May 2007

Click to follow

Ian Paisley, the former First Minister of Northern Ireland, has died.

"My beloved husband, Ian, entered his eternal rest this morning," a statement announcing his death from wife Eileen said.

UPDATE: Nigel Farage, Galloway Leads Tributes To Ian Paisley

"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.

"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 elected as the First Minister alongside Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness as deputy First Minister on 8 May 2007.

McGuinness paid tribute to Paisley with the following tweet:

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.