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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 14:34 GMT
Nepal mourns 'friend of Sherpas'
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu

Jamling Sherpa, right, son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa lights lamps in Kathmandu 11 January 2008
Jamling Tenzing Norgay lights a lamp in Sir Edmund's memory
Nepal, the country of Mount Everest, has been remembering Sir Edmund Hillary, the joint first conqueror of the summit.

Sir Edmund has died in his native New Zealand, aged 88, after a heart attack.

He continued visiting Nepal regularly until the end of his life, drawn to its communities as much as to its mountains.

Lamps have been lit in Nepal in his memory and Buddhist monks and others are offering prayers.

Lamps lit

Ed Hillary, as he liked to be known, always felt at home in Nepal, and many people here, especially in the Sherpa community, which is so closely identified with Everest, are now in mourning.

Tribute paid at Khumjung School, which Sir Edmund founded, 11 January 2008
Prayers were said at schools set up by Sir Edmund

Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of the man who reached the summit with him, said the New Zealand explorer had remained a very simple and humble man.

He said he was a father figure to Sherpas and would be greatly missed.

Nepal's tourism minister spoke of his sadness on the death of someone who made huge contributions to the country's social and economic development.

Indeed the charity founded by Sir Edmund, the Himalayan Trust, which is now run by local people, has set up nearly 30 schools and two hospitals in the high mountains - work which the late explorer said had satisfied him even more than his mountaineering.

At the trust, in Buddhist monasteries and in some of the institutions he founded in the Khumbu region over which Everest towers, lamps were lit in the mountaineer's memory.

Buddhist monks are offering prayers with the firm faith that the explorer will be reincarnated into another human life.

Obituary: Sir Edmund Hillary
10 Jan 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Life in pictures: Sir Edmund Hillary
11 Jan 08 |  In Pictures
'My Himalayan climb with Hillary'
11 Jan 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Sir Edmund Hillary: Your comments
10 Jan 08 |  Have Your Say
Sir Edmund urges climate care
10 Jul 05 |  South Asia
In pictures: Everest celebrations
29 May 03 |  Photo Gallery

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