DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ John Kelly, a former attorney general of Ireland and leading constitutional lawyer, has died, St. Vincent's Hospital said Friday. He was 59.

Kelly suffered a heart attack last week and died Thursday night, a spokesman at St. Vincent's said.

A senior member of the Irish Bar and a professor at University College, Dublin, Kelly was elected in a Dublin constituency as a Fine Gael member of Parliament in 1973.

He served as attorney general in 1977 in a coalition government led by Liam Cosgrave. Kelly held a number of ministerial posts, including Minister for Foreign Affairs, in the 1981-82 coalition government led by Garret Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said Kelly was ''an academic lawyer of great distinction and a uniquely independent and incisive politician.''

Kelly did not stand for re-election to the Dail (Parliament) in the last general election in 1989. He said he wanted to concentrate on his university work.

He is survived by his wife Delphine, three sons and two daughters. Funeral arrangements were not announced.