Dr. Death Dies

Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian dies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Dr. Jack Kevorkian - known to many as "Dr. Death" for helping over 100 people commit suicide - died early Friday morning in a Michigan hospital. A fitting end to assisted suicide's best known advocate.

Kevorkian had been hospitalized at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan for kidney and heart problems.

His attorney, Mayer Morganroth, told the Detroit Free Press that it seems Kevorkian died when a blood clot from his leg broke free and became lodged in his heart. Morganroth said his client died peacefully and without pain.

"Kevorkian has claimed to have helped 130 people kill themselves."

In 1999, Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder for assisting in the suicide of a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. After serving eight years of a 10- to 25-year prison term, he was released on parole.

After prison, Kevorkian was thrust back into the spotlight by an HBO documentary called "Kevorkian," a movie starring Al Pacino called "You Don't Know Jack," and an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2008.

The right-to-die activist also gave a small number of lectures about his beliefs and time in prison. He often spoke of assisted suicide as a matter of freedom and liberty, and referred to those who infringed upon this freedom as "the tyrant."

During a lecture at Harvard Law School, Kevorkian spoke of his dedication to his ideals and to the right to die.

"I'm not a do-gooder, it is just the right thing to do," he told the Harvard Law Record, Harvard Law School's newspaper. "That is the definition of courage: to know what the right thing to do is and to do it."

As he was never married or had children, Kevorkian felt he could fight for his cause with nothing to lose.

He told the Harvard Law Record, "I was in a fortunate position in life where I was not vulnerable to anything…there is too much to lose for most people and that is too much to ask of the average citizen and the tyrant knows that."

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died at 83 years of age. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 3, 2011
Last Updated:
November 14, 2011