Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet and writer who won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, died in a Dublin hospital this morning at the age of 74.
A statement issued by his family said, “The death has taken place of Seamus Heaney. 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 has been compared to renowned Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, who also received the Nobel Prize for Literature, and died in the year Heaney was born.
Heaney , who was born in Northern Ireland but moved to Dublin in 1972, published his first major collection of poems, Death of a Naturalist, at the age of 27. Other collections include Door into the Dark (1969), North (1975), The Haw Lantern (1987), Seeing Things (1991), The Spirit Level (1996) and District and Circle (2006), which each contributed to Heaney being hailed as one of the English language’s leading poets.
Heaney was the Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1989-94. In ’95 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 2009 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature for his lifetime of work.
In 2003 the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was opened at Queen’s University, housing a record of Heaney’s entire works. A large collection of his literary papers is available at the National Library of Ireland, which he donated two years ago.
Heaney is survived by his three children and wife Marie, a fellow writer whom he married in 1972 and inspired many of his poems. Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.