Updated at 10:54,14-11-2017

Renowned poet Nil Hilevich dies aged 84

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Renowned Belarusian poet Nil Hilevich, the last surviving holder of the People's Poet title, has died aged 84.

Mr. Hilevich passed away in Minsk on March 29. His body will lie in state at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Minsk on April 1 before he will be laid to rest at the Kalvaryyskiya cemetery in the Belarusian capital later that day, according to the Belarusian Union of Writers.

Born into a family of peasants in a village near Lahoysk, Minsk region, on September 30, 1931, Nil Hilevich graduated from Minsk Teachers' Training School and Belarusian State University's Philology Department.

A vocal Belarusian language campaigner, he was elected to lead the Francisak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society in 1989. He was a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and later of the Republic of Belarus between 1985 and 1995.

Mr. Hilevich had been the last surviving holder of the Belarusian People's Poet title since the death of Ryhor Baradulin in March 2014.