Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to Dr Ian Paisley's contribution to politics.
The Prime Minister said:
On behalf of the whole government I would like to express sincere condolences to Lady Paisley and the rest of the Paisley family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
Ian Paisley was one of the most forceful and instantly recognisable characters in British politics for nearly half a century. His length of service was remarkable, as a Stormont MP, a Westminster MP for 40 years, an MEP and latterly as First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Of course, Ian Paisley was a controversial figure for large parts of his career. Yet the contribution he made in his later years to political stability in Northern Ireland was huge. In particular, his decision to take his party into government with Sinn Fein in 2007 required great courage and leadership, for which everyone in these islands should be grateful.
I saw him most in the House of Commons where his great oratory stood out. He had a deserved reputation as one of the most hard working and effective MPs.
Ian Paisley will be remembered by many as the ‘Big Man’ of Northern Ireland politics. He will be greatly missed.