Poet Seamus Heaney's Last Words Comforted His Wife: "Don't Be Afraid"

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Poet Seamus Heaney's son spoke at his father's funeral yesterday (2nd September), stating his father contacted his mother, Marie, only minutes before his death. The funeral Mass took place at the Church of the Sacred Heard in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney was a Nobel Prize winning poet.

The Nobel Prize winning poet was just 74 when he passed away on Friday 30th August. He had fallen outside a restaurant the previous evening and was waiting for a medical procedure when he died at approximately 7.30am. He was evidently aware of what was to come as he sent a text to his wife, minutes before with "don't be afraid." His son Michael, speaking at the funeral (reported by the Irish Times), said "In his favourite Latin they were 'noli timere', don't be afraid." Michael continued to thank hospital staff and those who had offered "extraordinary tributes of the past few days."

Heaney was applauded by Brendan Devlin for his brilliance and his ability to speak to anyone from "the king of Sweden, an Oxford don or a south Derry neighbour with the directness of a common and shared humanity." Other tributes spoke of his "big heart" and his vigorous attitude towards life.

Seamus Heaney and Edna O'Brien
Seamus Heaney and Edna O'Brien.

Heaney was born in Londonderry in 1939. He studied at Queen's College Belfast in the late 1950s and went into teaching. It was whilst studying at university that he discovered his love of poetry. Heaney's work has been prolific and critically acclaimed. He touched on subjects from The Troubles in Northern Ireland to the Bush administration. His most famous works include Wintering Out, North and Door into the Dark

Contactmusic send their condolences to Seamus Heaney's family, friends and colleagues.

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney.


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