Ian Paisley in hospital for tests

Ian Paisley Ian Paisley is undergoing tests in hospital, his family has said

Northern Ireland's former first minister Ian Paisley has been admitted to hospital for what his family say are "necessary tests".

In a statement, his wife, Baroness Paisley, said her husband was "in good spirits".

"The family are grateful for those who have expressed concern and ask that his privacy be respected," she added.

In February 2012, the 87-year-old spent a week on a life support machine suffering from heart failure.

Mr Paisley, now Lord Bannside, later returned to public life after recovering.

In October 2012, he led a service outside his church in east Belfast, Martyrs' Memorial, in memory of the unionist leader Lord Edward Carson.

He stood down as Northern Ireland's first minister in 2008 and ended 60 years of full-time ministry in January 2012.

In addition to co-founding the DUP and leading it from 1971 to 2008, he is a founding member and was moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church from 1951 to 2008.

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