- His poetry detailed Ireland's rural past and its violent sectarian strife
- Irish prime minister compares him to writers Joyce, Yeats, Shaw and Beckett
- Heaney received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995
- Later in life, he produced new translations of well-known works of Anglo-Saxon literature
London (CNN) -- Seamus Heaney, the poet whose deeply felt descriptions of rural life in Ireland managed to carry larger echoes of the island's violent sectarian split, died Friday at the age of 74, his publisher said.
Heaney died in Dublin, Ireland, after a short illness, the publishing house Faber & Faber announced on behalf of his family.
One of the most widely read poets of the past hundred years, Heaney carried the long lineage of Irish authorship into an era of violence that marked Ireland for much of the later twentieth century.
"We are blessed to call Seamus Heaney our own and thankful for the gift of him in our national life," Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Friday. "He belongs with Joyce, Yeats, Shaw and Beckett in the pantheon of our greatest literary exponents."