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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Veteran folk singer Makem dies
Tommy Makem
Tommy Makem has died aged 74
The folk musician and singer Tommy Makem has died at his home in New Hampshire in the United States.

He was 74 and had been suffering from lung cancer.

Mr Makem was born and raised in Keady in County Armagh and was best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

He visited Armagh three weeks ago and also travelled to Belfast where he was presented with an honorary doctorate at the University of Ulster.

His nephew Peter Makem said his uncle "fought the disease to the end".

Solo career

"I feel he wanted to see Keady and Derrynoose and Armagh for the last time, to see around where he left 52 years previously," he said.

Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on stage
Tommy Makem performed with the Clancy Brothers for many years
After moving to the United States in the 1950s, Tommy Makem teamed up with the Clancy Brothers but left the group in 1969 to pursue a solo career.

He later joined Liam Clancy to become Makem and Clancy before going solo again in 1988.

Tommy Makem was best known for songs such as The Green Fields of France, Gentle Annie and Red is the Rose.

Liam Clancy said: "Tommy was a man of high integrity, honesty, and his courage really shone through towards the end.

"Our paths diverged, of course, many times, but our friendship never waned."


Irish President Mary McAleese was among those who offered condolences to the Makem family.

Tommy Makem
Warm tributes have been paid to Tommy Makem
"In life, Tommy brought happiness and joy to hundreds of thousands of fans the world over," she said.

"Always the consummate musician, he was also a superb ambassador for the country, and one of whom we will always be proud," she said.

Irish Arts Minister Seamus Brennan said the singer was "a legend in his own lifetime".

"He was a multi-talented artist whose abilities went beyond music, with other skills as a storyteller, actor, songwriter and poet," he said.

"He has left behind a rich and enduring legacy of music, song and story to be enjoyed and appreciated by this generation and generations to come."

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