That's it for our live coverage of Martin McGuinness' decision to stand down from NI politics. Keep up to date with this story throughout the evening on the BBC News NI website.
- Martin McGuinness, former IRA leader turned peacemaker, has confirmed he will not seek re-election in the Northern Ireland Assembly election.
- He quit as deputy first minister earlier this month in a row over a botched green energy scheme, sparking an election on 2 March.
- He had been in the post since entering NI's power-sharing assembly in 2007 with ex-political enemy Ian Paisley.
- Mr McGuinness, 66, has been ill for a number of weeks and said this was a factor in his decision.
A Presbyterian minister has spoken of his 10-year friendship with Martin McGuinness and said Protestant church-goers have been praying for him since his illness was reported.
The Reverend David Latimer, from First Derry Presbyterian Church, said he had been "inundated with phone calls, text messages and emails from people within the Protestant tradition" wishing Mr McGuinness well. Rev Latimer added that people should not concentrate on his past, but focus on "the man he became”.
During Martin McGuinness' tenure as education minister at Stormont, his legacy was the decision to kill off the 11-Plus examination.
A political hot potato, it stoked up a fiery glow in the eyes of those opposed to the move.
There were many seismic moments in the political career of Martin McGuinness and none more so than this.
The handshake between the Queen and Mr McGuinness in 2012 was billed as one of "momentous and historical" significance. Although the gesture stuck in the gullets of many hard-line republicans and loyal servants of the Queen alike, in recent years McGuinness said: "My war is over. My job as a political leader is to prevent that war and I feel very passionate about it."
In 1993, Martin McGuinness was labelled "Britain's number one terrorist" in Central Television's The Cook Report. Mr McGuinness called the report "cowardly and dishonest" television.
The shift to the politics of peace came slowly. In 1986, the party decided to contest elections in the Republic of Ireland. Ten years later, the landscape in Northern Ireland had changed irrevocably with McGuinness as chief negotiator in the peace process.
Former First Minister Peter Robinson has expressed his best wishes to Martin McGuinness on his retirement from elected politics.
"Martin will discover, as I have, that there is much to rejoice in having more time with family and less stress with the removal of the responsibilities of office. I pray that he overcomes his health challenges and has the time to do the simple things I know he loves - spending time with his grandchildren, fishing and watching football," he said.
"We came from polar opposite backgrounds but built up a relationship based on doing the best we could for all our people. We shared the hardships of taking risks for progress and the joy of seeing so many improvements in the lives of our fellow citizens."
Martin McGuinness, IRA commander turned peacemaker and Northern Ireland deputy first minister, switched from the Armalite to an armistice.
In 1972, at the age of 21, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry at the time of Bloody Sunday. A year later he flew to London with Gerry Adams for secret talks with the British government and his transition to politics had begun.
Alliance leader Naomi Long said: “It's particularly sad that he's stepping aside at a time, when the institutions that he invested so much in, are in such a precarious situation.
“I wish him good health, and I hope he recovers and can enjoy his retirement, but I also want to thank him for those acts of generosity he displayed, that were able to build the peace process."
DUP leader, Arlene Foster, says she and Martin McGuinness had their "political differences" and came from "very different angles of vision." However she described her former political colleague as a "major figure at Stormont" for almost a decade.
In a statement on Thursday, she wished Mr McGuinness a speedy recovery and said she hoped he and his wife "are able to enjoy time with their family away from the relentless focus of public life."
Former Methodist Church President, the Rev Harold Good told the Evening Extra programme: "We would not be where we are in the peace process were it not for what Martin McGuinness has brought. He has sought to understand where others are coming from."
He was able to bring the republican movement to a new place - he went on a journey himself and brought others along with him - that is so significant," he added.
Speaking to BBC News NI, Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey said: "He is a close personal friend and comrade - tirelessly committed."
"He is a man of tremendous leadership qualities and has done a lot in recent years to build reconciliation. Though that isn't always reciprocated a lot of people have respected what he has done as a republican leader."
Martin McGuinness is one of seven children - six boys and a girl - who grew up in Derry's Bogside in the 1960s.
Back then the Bogside was hopelessly overcrowded as a result of gerrymandering and the poverty of that time. The McGuinness family of nine had two bedrooms, an outside toilet and a scullery - a tiny working kitchen.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire said he had spoken to Martin McGuinness on Thursday evening and told him he was sorry he had decided not to stand for another term in the Assembly.
"I thank him on behalf of the government for his work in securing a number of significant political agreements, as well as his service as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland," he said.
As Martin McGuinness steps down from elected politics, BBC News NI looks back at his career.
Martin McGuinness said he had asked himself whether he was "physically capable" of fighting this election and had had to be "very honest with myself" when answering that question.
Mr McGuinness said it had been his "full intention" to continue until 8 May as deputy first minister and then stand aside to make way for a new Sinn Féin deputy first minister.
"That would obviously... have meant a generational change and, of course, people will be very anxious to know who will succeed me but you will know that next week, the person that will succeed me has my fullest confidence."
The controversy surrounding renewable heating scheme led Martin McGuinness to resign as deputy first minister. Calls by Sinn Féin for Arlene Foster to step down were resisted by the then first minister.
Mr McGuinness recalled a conversation with Mrs Foster: "What I'm asking for is your co-operation, to do what Peter (Robinson) did previously, stand aside for three or four weeks to allow an interim report to come in .... and she refused to do it and I think if she had of taken my advice we could have averted all of the difficulties, the extreme difficulties, that we've had to face in the course of recent times."
Mr McGuinness said of his health situation: "It has taken its toll on me but I'm very determined to overcome it and I'm very determined to overcome it to an extent where I can be very much involved in the whole process of peace, unity and reconciliation.
"The question I ask myself is are you capable, are you physically capable of fighting this election with the intensity that elections need to be fought? And the honest answer is that I am not physically capable or able to fight this election so I will not be a candidate in the upcoming election."
The former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness has announced he will not be seeking re-election to the Assembly.
He resigned earlier this month from his post in protest against the handling of a botched energy scheme that could cost taxpayers £490m. Mr McGuinness said at the time that his health had "nothing to do" with his decision to quit but said in a statement on Thursday that his health situation was a "serious illness".