Lord Trimble was “a giant of Irish and international politics”, as his former adviser put it.
Ord Paul Beau advised David Trimble when he was leader of the Ulster Unionists and was a colleague when the Nobel laureate was an academic.
Yesterday, a tribute to Lord Trimble was hung on the door of the lecture hall at King’s College, where he was honorary professor and alumnus.
“Lord Trimble was a giant in Irish and international politics. But he was also an employee of Queen’s University,” he said.
“Proud of his higher education and later role in the academic staff, the keen legal mind he developed at university was the key to his intellectual confidence and underpinned his confident negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, added: “David Trimble has had an incredible impact, making a significant contribution as an international statesman and champion of peace.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called him “the creator of the historic Belfast/Good Friday Agreement that brought stability and hope to Northern Ireland”.
And former US President Bill Clinton, who also played a key role in negotiating the peace deal, said Lord Trimble’s “lifelong service” helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
In a statement, Mr Clinton said: “Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Lord David Trimble, a courageous, visionary and principled leader whose service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
“Time after time during the negotiations that led to the Good Friday agreement, he made difficult choices in favor of the politically expedient because he believed that future generations deserved to grow up free from violence and hatred.
“His faith in the democratic process allowed him to face strong opposition in his own community, convince them of the benefits of compromise and share power with his former adversaries. His legacy will be preserved in all who live better because of him. Today.”
The 77-year-old peer and former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late SDLP leader John Hume, died on Monday following an illness.
His funeral will take place on Monday in Lisburn, with a service at Harmony Hill Presbyterian Church at 12:30 pm.
Former US Senator George Michell said that without Lord Trimble there would have been no Agreement. Mr. Mitchell, who presided over the peace talks, said the people here owe Lord Trimble “a great debt of gratitude for the personal and political sacrifice he has made.”
“He will be remembered as a major political leader whose courage and determination saved hundreds of lives and changed thousands more,” Mr. Mitchell added.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair also said that the world “would not exist” without Lord Trimble’s contribution.
“It is so simple. What he gave, not only during the negotiations… but also in the years that followed, was a masterclass in leadership,” Blair told the BBC.
“He was very smart and very brave. Once he made his decision, he was pretty unwavering. It was really a combination of high quality intellect and his vision for Northern Ireland.”
Books of condolences to the former leader are being opened across Northern Ireland.
Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black opened a book of condolences in memory of Lord Trimble at City Hall and Derry City and Strabane Mayor Sandra Duffy opened a book at Londonderry Town Hall.
The Assembly will hold a special session next Tuesday in memory of Lord Trimble.
Outgoing Speaker Alex Maski said: “It is important that the Assembly formally express its condolences for the loss of Lord Trimble, First First Minister of this Assembly, and it is right that this should take place in the Assembly Hall.”