Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney  has died, at age 74, at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin. He had won the Nobel Prize in 1995.

The man called Ireland’s greatest poet since William Butler Yeats was taken ill recently and rushed to the clinic.

Former US president Bill Clinton has described him as "the greatest poet of his age"

Clinton frequently quoted from Heaney's poetry, especially his line on peace in Northern Ireland when "hope and history rhymed".

He was awaiting an emergency operation when he passed away.

He was said to be in “good form” the night before the operation.

Poet Robert Lowell described him as the “most important Irish poet since Yeats”.

He was born on a rural farm near Toomebridge in County Derry in April 1939.

The North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tweeted: “Very shocked & deeply saddened to hear that Seamus Heaney, Derry man, poet & Nobel Laureate has died. My thoughts & prayers with Marie & family. (sic)”

The Irish Times reported that Heaney was a very close close friend of President Michael D Higgins, a fellow poet. who had described him as a “man who truly understands the Irish people and their historical landscape”.

“By delving into the images and memories of a rural Irish childhood, he weaves a journey back to our future selves and the scenery of new truths."

Bill Clinton  described  him as “one of the world’s favorite poets”.

“Your poetry has been a gift to the people of Ireland and to the world and a gift to me in difficult times."

Here's the BBC tribute to Seamus Heaney's life and contributions:

Here Seamus Heaney reads his poem "Digging":