Former Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has died

Lord David Trimble dead: Nobel Peace Prize-winning former NI First Minister and architect of the Good Friday Agreement that helped end the Troubles dies aged 77 after a short illness

Former Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has died at age 77, the party has revealed. 

In a statement on behalf of the Trimble family, the UUP said: ‘It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness.’

Trimble and John Hume, former leader of the Catholic Social Democratic and Labour Party, jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for their roles in helping end more than 30 years of bloodshed. 

The Co Down man distinguished himself in an academic career in the law faculty at the Queen’s University Belfast before moving into politics.

Former Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has died at age 77, the party has revealed. Pictured with Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern during an unveiling of his portrait by Colin Davidson at Queen’s Management School, Riddel Hall, in Belfast in June this year

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble (L), US President Bill Clinton (C), Deputy First minister Seamus Mallon (C) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) stand on the steps of Stormont parliamentary buildings in Northern Ireland on December 13, 2000

He initially became involved in the unionist offshoot organisation Vanguard in the early 1970s and while he was best known for his involvement with the Belfast Agreement, in his younger days he had opposed an earlier attempt, the Sunningdale Agreement.

He went on to join the then dominant Ulster Unionist Party in 1978.

It was at the university in 1983 that he heard the IRA’s gunshots which killed his fellow law professor and UUP colleague Edgar Graham and later identified the body.

He left academia for politics full time when he was elected as MP for Upper Bann following a by election in 1990 after the death of the incumbent Harold McCusker.

Lord Trimble rose to prominence partly due to the Drumcree dispute as nationalist residents opposed the procession of an orange parade along the Garvaghy Road.

He led the parade along the road in 1995, famously joining hands with Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley.

Irish rock band U2’s lead singer Bono (C) holds up the arms of Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble (L) and SDLP leader John Hume (R) on stage during a concert given by U2 and Ash at the Waterfront concert hall to promote the yes vote for Friday’s peace referendum

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