Political leaders and commentators have expressed shock at the death of Sudanese Vice-President John Garang, and hope that his death will not be an obstacle to the peace process, signed earlier this year to end 21-years of war.
Mr Garang (left) was sworn in as vice-president three weeks ago
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir:
"We are confident that the peace agreement will proceed as it was planned and drawn up and that the future of Sudan will remain a trust in our hearts and the hearts of the brothers in the [SPLM] movement."
SPLM Deputy Leader Salva Kiir Mayardit:
"We want to assure everyone that the leadership and all cadres of the SPLM/SPLA will remain united and strive to faithfully implement the comprehensive peace agreement."
US President George W Bush:
"He was a visionary leader and peacemaker who helped bring about the comprehensive peace agreement, which is a beacon of hope for all Sudanese... John Garang's vision of peace must be embraced by all the people in Sudan so that they can live in a democratic, peaceful and united country."
Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa:
"This is very tragic for Sudan and for the region as a whole. It is a big blow to the peace process, but I hope the people of Sudan can come together to move on."
Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenyan foreign minister during peace talks:
"The biggest tribute to him would be to see that the stipulations under the comprehensive peace are followed strictly. Garang worked for peace and it should not be allowed to slip through the fingers of the Sudanese people."
Lazarus Sumbeiywo, chief mediator in Sudan peace talks:
"It's shocking - the loss of a visionary leader, who really crafted the agreement with Ali Osman Taha."
Jemera Rone, Human Rights Watch:
"As shocking and tragic a death this is, it leaves the door open for more democratic forces to come to the fore. ... [The SPLA] made no pretence of being a democracy."
"If they [Sudanese people] loved him, they should remain calm and carry on with his vision. It is John Garang who is dead. The vision should be kept alive."
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki:
"It is with great shock and sadness that the government and people of South Africa learned of the death of Dr John Garang de Mabior, the first vice president of the republic of Sudan.
There was grief in southern Sudan at John Garang's death (picture: Mark Pearson)
"It is especially tragic that Dr Garang's death comes a mere three weeks after his inauguration as the first vice president of the republic of the Sudan on 9 July 2005."
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki:
"I do appreciate that the new-found peace in Sudan was inextricably interwoven with the very person of Dr Garang. I, however, express the hope and optimism that every effort will be taken to ensure that the physical absence of Dr Garang will not in any way jeopardize the gains made towards durable peace."
"Indeed, the consolidation of the peace is the greatest honour the people of Sudan can bestow on the departed soul."
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni:
"The death of our brother and long time comrade-in-arms is a tragic loss to the cause of patriotic Africa. It was a great shock and source of anger to see that Dr Garang who has survived so many trials and tribulations could lose his life when peace was beginning to come back to Sudan.
"Dr Garang was one of the most visionary and incisive revolutionary thinkers and nationalists Africa has ever produced."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
"Here is a man who had lived and fought for peace and one united Sudan and just as he was on the verge of achieving what he had lived and fought for he is taken away from us."
African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare:
"Dr Garang was readily recognized universally as the
embodiment and symbol of the struggles of the people
of Southern Sudan. At the same time, he never wavered
in his conviction that this struggle should be waged
and pursued in the context of greater struggle for a
"This seeming paradox in Dr Garang's
convictions is what marked him out as a pragmatic
statesman, a nationalist, and a visionary who held out
hope for the new Sudan, a diverse, pluralistic,
democratic and united Sudan."