North Antrim MLA and TUV leader Jim Allister has expressed sympathy after victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer passed away on Friday, aged 58.
Mr Frazer died at Craigavon Area Hospital surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer.
He was the leader of Markethill-based victims’ group the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU), he had battled ill health for several years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.
Five members of his close family — including his father — were murdered during the Troubles.
Mr Frazer is survived by his wife Ann and son Phillip.
Family pastor Barrie Halliday announced the news of Mr Frazer’s passing on Friday afternoon.
“It is with great sadness that I personally announce that at 3.55pm William Frazer passed away and went into the near presence of God,” he said.
“On behalf of myself, speaking on behalf of the family, we have been overwhelmed by the support, the prayers, the good wishes of the people.
“This afternoon, one of the best sons that Ulster ever had left this old world, left pain and sadness behind him and went home.
“He died peacefully with his family around him. There will be people very keen to give an opinion on William. We thought the world of him as a father, a husband, as a great friend and this afternoon we ask people to have respect, to give the Frazers privacy, time to deal with the situation.
“When the time comes we will announce the funeral to which everyone will be very, very welcome. A true son of Ulster has fallen this afternoon.”
Mr Frazer’s father Bertie was part-time UDR man and council worker who was murdered by the IRA on August 30, 1975.
Willie Frazer founded the Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR) group in 1998 to advocate on behalf of victims of republican violence.
Mr Frazer stood down from the group in 2012 after it lost funding.
Aside from his campaigning on behalf of victims Mr Frazer was also a key figure in the loyalist flag protests in 2012.
He also ran for election on a number of occasions on various unionist and loyalist platforms, however he failed to be successful.
A number of public figures paid tribute to Mr Frazer on Friday evening after the news of his passing broke.
Jim Allister said: “I am profoundly sorry to learn of the passing of William Frazer. William’s passion for innocent victims and desire to honour the memory of those in his own family who paid the supreme sacrifice at the hands of terrorists is beyond question.
“In the face of many trials and setbacks William was always able to come back.
“Now his struggle is over it behoves politicians to honour his memory by ensuring that the past is not rewritten. We must all ensure that innocent victims are not forgotten.
“I extend my heart felt sympathy to his family and friends and like countless others across Northern Ireland will remember them in my prayers in the coming days.”