The North's chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride has led tributes to professor Jim Dornan, the retired obstetrician and gynaecologist who has died aged 73.
Prof Dornan, father of actor Jamie Dornan, is understood to have been diagnosed with Covid-19. He was previously diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
A native of Holywood, Co Down Prof Dornan had an international reputation and had lectured in Ireland and abroad on obstetrics.
He was professor of foetal medicine at Queen’s University Belfast from 1995 to 2012 and senior vice-president of the Royal College of Gynaecologists from 2004 to 2006.
His first wife Lorna Dornan died from pancreatic cancer in 1998. They had three children. He later remarried leading gynaecologist Samina Dornan.
The chief medical officer Dr McBride said he was “very saddened and shocked” to learn of Prof Dornan’s death.
"Professor Dornan made an immense contribution to obstetrics and foetomaternal medicine. He held a number of significant and important leadership roles in the health service both in Northern Ireland and nationally," he said.
“I trust his family will take some comfort from the lasting legacy he leaves behind, and the esteem in which he was held by so many people at home and abroad,” added Dr McBride.
The North Antrim MP Ian Paisley expressing his sadness and condolences said that Prof Dornan was a "wonderful man".
“He was engaged in political lobbying and promotion of many medical and non medical issues. Above all he loved Northern Ireland and was so proud of this place,” he said.
“His ambition, expressed often to me, was to see Northern Ireland and its people flourish and be the best. No obstacle was ever insurmountable for him and he was a great source of encouragement,” he added.
“I will miss our many chats and text messages and his ability to challenge and encourage change,” said Mr Paisley.