06 Jul 2022

"A gracious, determined force": Pat Hume, widow of the late SDLP leader John Hume, passes away

Various leaders from across the national and international political spectrum have paid tribute to the late Northern Ireland peace proponent.

Pat and John Hume

Pat and John Hume

Pat Hume, widow of the late John Hume, has passed away following a short battle with an illness: just over one year since the passing of the former SDLP leader.

The news was confirmed by the family of the late former teacher and Northern Ireland peace proponent, who said in a statement: "We are heartbroken to announce the death of Pat Hume at home in Derry earlier this afternoon after a short illness."

"Pat died as she lived - surrounded by family, peacefully and generous to the end."

"Pat spent some days in the hospital in the days preceding her death and she saw first-hand the outstanding work that healthcare workers do, and the pressures that they are facing due to COVID."

"We would like to express our thanks to the doctors and nurses of Glendermott Medical Centre, Dr Aaron Peace, the cardiology, palliative care teams and the staff of the Ambulatory Care Unit at Altnagelvin hospital, the Ambulance Service, the Foyle Hospice and all those who gave Pat such outstanding care."

Pat Hume's death has been met with multiple messages of condolences from various prominent politicians.

President Michael D. Higgins said that while many people will hear of her passing "with great sadness", they may be helped as they recall Pat's extraordinary contribution to life on this island and beyond.

"That life of Pat Hume was one of total commitment to community, to the possibilities of peace, to the measures of non-violence that were necessary to assert, vindicate and achieve the results of civil rights," President Higgins said.

"While her support of the work of her late husband and Nobel Prize recipient, John Hume, was an exercise in solidarity, a partnership in courage, endurance and fortitude, her personal contribution was unique, immense and important in its own right."

A former lecturer himself, President Higgins also gave credit to Ms. Hume's former career as a teacher.

Former US Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton also commented on Ms. Hume's death, saying: "Pat Hume was a gracious, determined force behind the achievement of peace in Ireland."

"She and her husband John both made the world a better place and set an example for us all. Sending my condolences to her family."

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin also paid tribute to Pat, saying: "Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Pat Hume, wife of the late John Hume."

"Alongside her husband, Pat made it her life’s work to bring peace and stability to this island – showing huge resilience and courage along the way.  My deepest condolences to all of the Hume family."

Also among those paying tribute was Colum Eastwood, the current leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, who said: "Without Pat Hume, there would have been no peace process in Ireland, that’s the simple truth."

"The compassion, integrity and immense fortitude that defined her incredible character breathed life into our peace. Thank you for everything, Pat."

While Pat Hume was never elected to a position of political power, these tributes show that she nevertheless gained a respectable reputation as her husband's closest confidant and a valuable advisor to him during the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

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