DUBLIN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Irish people deeply mourn for the Nobel laureate and poet Seamus Heaney, who died Friday at the age of 74 in Dublin.
Heaney had been in hospital after suffering a short illness, a statement from his family said. He died in Dublin's Blackrock Hospital Friday morning.
Heaney was awarded numerous prizes over the years and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He was born to a farming family in Britain's Northern Ireland on April 13, 1939. He was the eldest of nine children in his family. He studied at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, before making his home in Dublin in 1972.
His poetry first came to public attention in 1960s with his first major collection, Death Of A Naturalist, published in 1966. Other collections included: Door into the Dark (1969), Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), Field Work (1979), Station Island (1984), The Haw Lantern (1987), Seeing Things (1991), The Spirit Level (1996), Electric Light (2001) and District and Circle (2006).
Ireland's President Michael D Higgins paid tributes to Heaney, saying that his "contribution to the republics of letters, conscience, and humanity was immense."
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Heaney's death "brings great sorrow to Ireland, to language and to literature."
"Today, it would take Seamus Heaney himself to describe the depth of his loss to us as a nation," Kenny said.
"He belongs with Joyce, Yeats, Shaw and Beckett in the pantheon of our greatest literary exponents," said the Irish prime minister.
The world-renowned poet is survived by his wife Marie and children Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann. Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.