Francis Sejersted, former chairman of the Nobel Peace Committee that hands out the coveted award in the Norwegian capital, has died. He was 79.

Frederik Sejersted said his father "died peacefully Tuesday at home after a long illness."

A history professor, Francis Sejersted was chairman from 1991 to 1999 and a board member during the nine previous years.

During his chairmanship, the prize was awarded to Nelson Mandela and South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk, and to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin, among others.

The peace award is always announced in Oslo, in line with the wishes of prize founder Alfred Nobel, while five other prize categories are awarded in Stockholm.

Sejersted is survived by his wife and two sons.