Tributes have been paid to renowned Irish poet John Montague who has died aged 87.

It is expected his remains will be brought from Nice where he was living to be buried in Tyrone where he was brought up.

Mr Montague was born in Brooklyn in 1929 but was sent to live with relatives in Co Tyrone at the age of four.

He was educated in University College Dublin as well as at Yale and Berkeley in the US.

During his career he also co-founded Claddagh Records and became president of Poetry Ireland in 1979 as well as being a member of Aosdana.

Mr Montague lectured in UCD, UCC and the Sorbonne as well as several universities in the US.

His poetry included works such as The Rough Field, Forms of Exile and The Dead Kingdom. He also wrote novellas, memoirs as well as collections of stories. 

President Michael D Higgins said Mr Montague's death represents "another great loss to Irish letters, a further break with a rich body of work that was the gift of poets and dramatists, to Ulster, Ireland and the world".

The Arts Council also expressed its regret on Mr Montague’s death.

Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke described him as a "true giant of Irish letters" and said he "possessed a voice and vision which was wholly unique and deeply needed".

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Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys said: "I was very sorry to hear this morning of the passing of John Montague.

"He was Ireland's first professor of poetry, and was known the world over for his mastery of words.

"Through his poetry, and his work with Poetry Ireland, he has left a wonderful legacy.

"I know that his work has inspired many, and have no doubt that it will continue to do so for future generations," added Ms Humphreys.

Mr Montague is survived by his wife Elizabeth and daughters Sibyl and Oonagh.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin Martin said: "He was a man of exceptional talent with a unique command of the English language and his loss will be greatly felt both here in Ireland and abroad. 

"On a personal level, it was a great privilege for me to have attended his lectures as a student in University College Cork.

"John Montague was influential in nurturing a new generation of poets in Ireland in the 1970s and his legacy will live on long after his death," added Mr Martin.

Aosdána released a statement this afternoon saying: "His poetry has, in the words of Aosdána member Thomas McCarthy, 'an expansive fluency and national grandeur… a splendid, exceptional integrity: it ebbs and flows and shimmers like the tide.' This is a tide that cannot go out. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann."

French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault said Mr Montague's death is an invaluable loss for the artistic and literary world and noted the poet's close relations to France "for which he had a lifelong passion since his first trip in 1948".

Mr Montague was made Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur in 2010 and also received an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne.