By Hannah Hollingsworth and Kathleen Jolly
Pastor and politician Ian Paisley died on Friday at the age for 88, according to his wife.
Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Paisley became a Baptist preacher after he attended the Barry School of Evangelism.
A political activist and former First Minister of North Ireland, Paisley began his career as a reverend and said he wanted to be remembered first and foremost as a “gospel man.” He would become known as the voice of the Protestant people, even co-founding a newspaper, The Protestant Telegraph to further his message.
His foray into politics came nearly 10 years later. He was known for his dramatic orator-style speeches, one of which was famously directed at Pope John Paul II in European Parliament in 1988 when he denounced the pope as the antichrist.
In 1971, Paisley co-founded and became the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. The divisive figure’s party became the leading political party in Northern Ireland.
After publicly contesting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, in 2006 Paisley stunned the world by doing an about-face and joined with Sinn Féin, a republican party with ties to the IRA to form a coalition government. He became First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuiness became his deputy.
He stepped down as First Minister in June 2008.
Paisley’s wife said in a statement that the funeral will be private.