Pacific climate change champion Tony de Brum dies

7:06 am on 23 August 2017

Former Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, a champion of climate change awareness and ridding the world of nuclear weapons, has died.

The Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum.

Tony de Brum Photo: RNZI / supplied Giff Johnson

He was 72 years old.

The Marshall Islands president's office said he died at his Majuro home, surrounded by his family, on Tuesday morning.

Over the past few years, notable organisations have recognised Mr de Brum's work to combat climate change and rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Earlier this year, he and the Marshall Islands were jointly voted 2016 Arms Control Persons of the Year by the Arms Control Association.

In 2016, Mr de Brum and his legal team were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after filing several lawsuits against nuclear-armed nations that failed to comply with international legal obligations to pursue negotiations for the world-wide elimination of nuclear weapons.

Mr De Brum and the people of the Marshall Islands were also named as Right Livelihood Award Laureates in 2015, in recognition of their vision and courage in prosecuting those that did not respect their disarmament obligations under the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Born in 1945, Mr de Brum grew up on the island of Likiep while the US was conducting nuclear weapon testing in the Marshall Islands.

He was nine years old when he witnessed the largest nuclear test, known as the Bravo test, at Bikini Atoll.

The Bravo explosion was 1000 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in World War II.