The family of David Ervine, who died on Monday, say they have taken great comfort from the cross-community tributes paid to the PUP leader.
Mark and Owen Ervine said they were moved by tributes
Speaking publicly for the first time since his death, Mr Ervine's sons Mark and Owen said they were overwhelmed by the expressions of sympathy.
"I never fully understood just how much he had done to help people," said Mark.
"When it's your time to go, it's your time to go, but people live to 100 and don't do half what my dad did."
He added: "The tributes that have come in have just blown me out of the water.
"The hospital staff were brilliant, and everything was done to help my dad in every possible way."
Mr Ervine died in hospital on Monday, a day after suffering a heart attack, stroke and brain haemorrhage.