Martin McGuinness, the Irish Republican Army commander who laid down his arms to become a key architect of Northern Ireland's peace, has died aged 66, prompting tributes from allies and former enemies alike.
The face of Irish Republicanism for many during some of the worst moments of three decades of sectarian bloodshed that killed more than 3600 people, Mr McGuinness remained a figure of hate for many pro-British Protestants until his death on Tuesday.
But he earned widespread respect across Britain and Ireland by embracing his bitterest rivals to cement the 1998 peace deal and allow Northern Ireland to slowly return to normality.
"While I can never condone the path he took in the earlier part of his life, Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining role in leading the Republican movement away from violence," British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
"In doing so, he made an essential and historic contribution to the extraordinary journey of Northern Ireland from conflict to peace."
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Mr McGuinness strove to make Northern Ireland a better place for everyone, regardless of background or tradition.
Mr McGuinness was present during the opening salvos of the conflict as a 20-year-old IRA commander fighting the British army on the streets of his native Londonderry on behalf of a community he said had been denied basic human rights.
He swiftly rose to become a senior IRA commander and was convicted in 1973 of being a member of the group after being stopped in a car packed with explosives and bullets.
By the 1980s Me McGuinness emerged alongside Adams as a key architect in the electoral rise of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing, advocating a strategy of using the ballot box alongside the Armalite rifle.
Following the IRA's second ceasefire in 1997, Mr McGuinness became Sinn Fein's chief negotiator in peace talks that led to the landmark 1998 Good Friday peace accord.
But it was the energy with which Mr McGuinness worked to bed in the peace process that surprised many. His handshake with the Queen Elizabeth in 2012 became one of the defining images of Northern Ireland's peace.
Mr McGuinness was active until the last weeks of his life, helping to orchestrate one of the biggest political victories for Irish nationalism in decades by forcing a snap election in March that deprived unionism of its majority in the regional parliament for the first time.