Pat and John Hume have described their late friend and colleague Seamus Mallon as 'one of the great Irish patriots and peacemakers'.
Pat Hume said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our dear friend Seamus Mallon.
“History will remember Seamus as one of the great Irish patriots and peacemakers.
“He was a man of huge strength and courage, who stood with John for many years in the fight for justice, peace and reconciliation on this island."
Mrs. Hume said the late Armagh man was steadfast in his opposition to political violence throughout his life.
“Seamus was fearless in his condemnation of violence regardless of its source and was a rock of integrity throughout his career which spanned some of our most difficult days.
“His clarity, insight and political nous sustained the SDLP, often during periods while John was away, and were a source of inspiration not only at home but throughout the world.
“His work for many years as SDLP deputy leader, MP for Newry and Armagh and deputy first minister was defined by his dogged determination and deep devotion to the betterment of his community and his country, which he truly loved," she said.
The Humes said Mr. Mallon was one of a kind and paid their condolences to his family.
“In later years, he showed the same devotion and dignity in the care of his late wife Gertrude – they were a formidable partnership.
“Men like Seamus Mallon don’t come along too often, we should for grateful for his work in our time and cherish his legacy and preserve his values by never giving up on standing up for what is right, standing tall against prejudice and injustice and standing for making Ireland a country of peace and partnership.
“We wish to express our sincere condolences to Seamus’ daughter Orla and his wider family circle.”