John Hume has been one of the principle champions of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years. He has been widely credited with bringing unionists and republicans together to make the peace process possible.
Mr Hume first came to prominence through the civil rights movement in the late 1960s. He helped to found the moderate nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1970, taking over as leader in 1979. He became a Member of the European Parliament in the same year.
The most crucial phase of his political career came in 1988 when Mr Hume began a series of contacts with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. He has been a tireless and complete opponent of violent action in Northern Ireland, beit carried out by the IRA, security forces or loyalist paramilitaries.
In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with David Trimble.