A number of tributes have been paid to the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who died at his home in Los Angeles late last evening.

The Taoiseach has said he was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Mr Reagan. 

Bertie Ahern extended his sincere sympathies to the former first lady, Nancy Reagan, as well as to the American people. 

He said Mr Reagan was proud of his Irish heritage and during his time in the White House marked St Patrick's Day celebrations with great ceremony. 

Mr Ahern also said Mr Reagan had played an important role in bringing an end to Communism and to the artificial division of Europe after the Second World War.

Mr Regan died last night after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.  He was 93. 

His second wife, Nancy, and two of his four children were at his bedside at his home in Los Angeles when he died. 

His body will be flown to Washington to lie in state before a funeral service and ultimately returned to California for burial. 

Mr Reagan, who was originally a film star before entering politics with the Republican party, served as American president for two full terms of office from 1981 to 1989. 

The current US President, George W Bush, said it was a sad day for the United States and said the late president had ‘laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny’ in the world.