August 27, 2010
Ex-SAS soldier John McAleese, who led the raid that ended the 1980 siege at Iran's embassy in London, has died.
Mr McAleese, who was in his early 60s, died on Friday in Thessaloniki, Greece, the Foreign Office said.
The former sergeant led the team which blew out the building's windows and rescued 24 hostages from gunmen.
His daughter said he had been reunited with his son, a soldier killed in Afghanistan. "Two great heroes taking their place in heaven," she said.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of John McAleese, a hero who served his country bravely and professionally in a military career that spanned many years.
"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."
Millions of television viewers watched Mr McAleese and his team, dressed in black, storm the embassy on 5 May 1980 to end the six-day siege within 15 minutes of entering.
Six Iranian separatists took over the embassy and demanded the release of 91 political prisoners held in Iran as well as an aircraft to take them and 26 hostages out of the UK.
Then Home Secretary William Whitelaw ordered the SAS attack after the gunmen shot dead Iranian press attaché Abbas Lavasani and dumped his body outside the building.
During the SAS operation, five of the gunmen and one of the remaining hostages were killed.
Hayley, 28, said her father - who went on to present the BBC programme SAS: Are You Tough Enough? - never got over the death of his son Serjeant Paul McAleese, 29, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009 as he went to help a fatally injured colleague.
She told reporters: "I am sure the grief and stress he had suffered had a bearing on what has happened."
It is understood John McAleese suffered a suspected heart attack.
Tributes have been posted on his Facebook page.
One read: "RIP JOHN...JOINED WITH YOUR SON...2 BRAVE AND REMARKABLE MEN...THOUGHTS ARE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY..."
Another said: "rest in peace john,......another soldier reporting for duty at the gates of st peter. at least now he can be with his son paul, R.I.P true scotsman. true soldier and a true legend of a man :("
We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm
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