RIP, Dr. Death

Dr. Jack Kevorkian has died at the age of 83.

Kevorkian, who claimed he had helped about 130 people to kill themselves between 1990 and 1999, died at William Beaumont hospital in Michigan, close friend Mayer Morganroth said.

Nicknamed Dr Death, Kevorkian came to prominence in 1990 when he used his homemade “suicide machine” in his rusted Volkswagen van to inject lethal drugs into an Alzheimer’s disease patient who sought his help.

He had been hospitalised since last month with pneumonia and kidney problems, Morganroth said. An official cause of death had not been determined, but Morganroth said it was likely to have been pulmonary thrombosis.

Kevorkian was freed in June 2007 after serving eight years of a 10 to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder. His lawyers had said he suffered from Hepatitis C, diabetes and other problems, and he had promised in affidavits that he would not assist in a death if he was released.

Kevorkian was a courageous man who sacrificed a great deal to help our culture understand the value of allowing those in pain to die gracefully and on their own terms. We haven’t reached a point that’s as enlightened as the ancient Greeks or Romans yet, perhaps, but we’re much further along than we would be without Kevorkian’s tireless efforts.

Quality of life is everything. Personal autonomy is everything.

We’re a better society because of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. RIP.

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