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Niall Kilmartin has died

A couple of hours ago, Niall Kilmartin’s wife telephoned me with terrible news. Last night, Niall suffered a heart attack and a stroke. He was rushed to hospital but died during the night. Niall was my dear friend for more than forty years, a friend to my husband for even longer, and to my children for all their lives.

I know he valued Samizdata immensely. Read the comments that he made yesterday to my previous post. As ever they are full of wonderful scholarship and commitment to truth. I can hardly make myself believe that we will not continue the conversation in this life.

May he rest in peace.

35 comments to Niall Kilmartin has died

  • That is terrible news, truly appalling. Condolences to his family.

  • Patrick Crozier

    I am very sorry to hear this. I am also very sorry I never got to meet him.

  • Sam Duncan

    Oh, Good Lord. That’s awful. My deepest sympathies to his family. Also to you and yours, Natalie.

  • llamas

    Oh, that’s terrible news. How awful. Heartfelt condolences to family and friends, a great loss. The world doesn’t have enough good people in it to be losing them like this. He will be much missed here.



  • lucklucky

    My condolences.

  • Steven R

    That’s terrible news.

  • Bell Curve

    I didn’t know Niall but he was probably my favorite samizdata writers & commenter. It really is a blow to lose him. Unexpected sudden death seems to be alarmingly common these days (one extended family member, one friend & two work colleagues in the last four months have unexpectedly died from heart failure &/or strokes, all without pre-existing indicators, all without warning).

    I wonder if Niall was vaccinated. I am & have become quite unsettled by what that might mean for the future. Seems I wasn’t quite as far up the IQ bell curve as I thought I was. Kudos to the refuseniks who didn’t bow to the pressure.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes indeed – this is terrible news. May the Gentleman Rest in Peace.

    My condolences to his family and friends.

  • Mr Ed

    Terrible news, my condolences to his family and friends. I always looked out in hope to see his threads and comments here, such a bright light.

  • William H. Stoddard

    Niall is truly a loss to us all. My sympathies to those who knew him beyond these virtual pages.

  • Fraser Orr

    How sad and terrible. Natalie I hope you will convey to his wife how many people here admired him, enjoyed debating him, loved his deep insight, and feel a great loss, even though many of us never met him. Samizdata is a poorer place today than it was yesterday.

  • bobby b

    I didn’t even know him and I feel like I’ve lost a teacher and a friend.

  • llamas

    @ Bell Curve – er, not the time At All, buddy. Have some compassion, eh?



  • TheHat

    Thank you Niall for all you have done and said.

  • Kirk

    We are diminished.

    I’ve been reading his posts for years, and I’ve yet to find one that didn’t make me think.

  • Exasperated

    Deepest sympathy to Niall’s family. I am sorry for all our loss.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Very sad, especially so soon after Samizdata lost Brian. (Or at least it feels so soon.)

    As William wrote: My sympathies to those who knew Niall beyond these virtual pages. It should be some comfort to them that we all miss him.

  • Chromatistes

    He is missed

  • Barbarus

    Sad news; bad enough for the rest of us who have lost that intellect. My sympathy to his family and friends, who have lost far more.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I can only second what Fraser Orr wrote.
    A great loss.

  • Myno

    His was the brightest light. We are all diminished by this loss. Condolences to his family and friends. I will always be wondering what he would say about everything.

  • A sad loss to his readers, family, and friends. My sincere condolences to them all. I shall miss his erudite posts and commentary.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    This is a great shock. I never met him: I’m going to miss his posts and comments, even if I didn’t always agree with them.

  • FrancisT

    My condolences to all who knew him

  • Alan Peakall

    Sad and shocking news. My condolences to his family and all who had the good fortune to know him well. That special quality of his writing in blending stimulating rigour and companionable warmth will be greatly missed here.

  • Bogdan the Aussie

    Although I’ve almost never commented on Samizdata my daily visit at your glorious website is a MUST. The sudden passing of Niall is as shocking as it is SAD.
    My condolences – Bogdan from Melbourne

  • JohnB

    A sad loss for all of us, indeed.
    Condolences and best wishes to Niall’s family.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Well, I do think there is an afterlife, so I hope he is adjusting well to his new circumstances.

  • Alex

    I am very sorry to hear that Niall has died. His comments and posts were always extremely interesting and his character shone through.

  • Fan of Slackwire Clowns

    Niall Kilmartin was a gracious teacher.

    He answered an awkward question that was asked clumsily in full, introducing new information from memory, then endeavored to provide as much sourcing as he could – pointing towards a source who could point towards more sources.

    He did not first scold the person asking the question for asking it in a clumsy and indelicate manner.

    He, Niall Kilmartin Actual, did this. Not an algorithm designed to make Niall Kilmartin’s life easier. Considering how he died and how soon after his last contribution to this site, he could have been forgiven for turning to an algorithm.

    Also, the manner of his death has raised questions worth asking that could be dismissed after the period of mourning as “Old Business” and left unexplored.

    Again, awkward. Comfortable can prolong and and worsen worrying issues.

  • neonsnake


    I’m very sorry for your loss; and to his family.

    Neon x

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I am so horrified to hear this news. Niall was an extraordinary writer and a phenomenal thinker. There may be nobody living today whose writings I have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed Niall’s. His writings have had a significant impact on me.

    I never met the man, to my great regret.

    I will always remember his terrific posts at Samizdata. And I have no doubt I will frequently return to his Samizdata posts for wisdom, insight, and levity well into the future. May he rest in peace.

  • Oh, just heard this news via Longrider’s comment at my blog. So very sorry to hear this. 😞

  • Wessexboy

    So sorry to hear that. Condolences to friends and family. I so enjoyed Niall’s erudite comments

  • […] has long been a Samizdata reader. She asked me to say how comforting it was to read the replies to the post announcing his death. She described it as “a real joy” to her to see how highly Samizdata readers and posters […]