Ex-Irish premier Garret FitzGerald dead at age 85

Garret FitzGerald, who was prime minister in Ireland from 1981 to 1987 during a time of severe economic crisis, has died aged 85.

The Irish government says FitzGerald died Thursday in a Dublin hospital with his family at his bedside. The cause of death was not announced.

FitzGerald was an early architect of peace in Northern Ireland. He negotiated a 1985 treaty with Britain that gave Ireland a role in the British territory's affairs for the first time.

FitzGerald was a unique figure in Irish politics: an intellectual and university economist who turned to parliament in mid-career. His polished manners and soft-spoken wit offered a polar opposite to Ireland's dominant politician of the day, Charles Haughey.