In the 1970s, Garang joined the Sudanese army and rose to be a lieutenant colonel. In 1983, he started leading the southern Sudan People's Liberatin Army (SPLA) against the northern government forces; this Second Sudanese War lasted for about 21 years and an estimated one-and-a-half million people were killed. During this long civil war, it is reported that several African countries backed the SPLA - including Libya. Garang was married to Rebecca Nyandeng and reportedly has six children - 2 sons and 4 daughters. As John Garang was said to be very much for keeping Sudan united, if he was alive today, would Southern Sudan have, still, separated?
For more on Garang: BBC, Twicom, Times Online, Wikipedia, SPLM, Mading