Dr. Jack Kevorkian dead at 83
June 3rd, 2011
08:49 AM ET

Dr. Jack Kevorkian dead at 83

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who put assisted suicide on the world's medical ethics stage, died early Friday, according to a spokesman with Beaumont Hospital. He was 83.

The assisted-suicide advocate had been hospitalized in Michigan for pneumonia and a kidney-related ailment, his attorney Mayer Morganroth has said.

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Kevorkian's favorite musician, was put on the intercom so he could hear the music as he was dying, Morganroth said.

The 83-year-old former pathologist had struggled with kidney problems for years and had checked into a hospital earlier this month for similar problems, his lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, told CNN last month. He checked back into Beaumont Hospital in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak on May 18 after suffering a relapse, Morganroth said.

Kevorkian, dubbed "Dr. Death," made national headlines as a supporter of physician-assisted suicide and "right-to-die" legislation. He was charged with murder numerous times through the 1990s for helping terminally ill patients take their own lives.

He was convicted on second-degree murder charges in 1999 stemming from the death of a patient who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. He was paroled in 2007.

After his release, he said he would not help end any more lives.

In an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta last year, Kevorkian said he had no regrets about his work.

"No, no. It's your purpose (as a) physician. How can you regret helping a suffering patient?" he said.

In that interview, Kevorkian said that he had three missions in life and that he himself was not ready to die.

One of his missions was to warn mankind of "impending doom" that will come from the culture of overabundance.

"I'm not going to be too popular for that one," he said.

His second mission was to educate people about assisted suicide, and his belief that in states where assisted suicide has been legalized, it is not being done right. He believed that people shouldn't have to be terminal in order to qualify for help in ending their own lives.

Kevorkian's third stated mission was to convince Americans that their rights are being infringed upon by bans on everything from smoking to assisted suicide.

In 2008, at the age of 79, he had a failed run for Congress in Michigan.

Morganroth told the Detroit Free Press it appears Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis when a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart. With Kevorkian were his niece Ava Janus and Morganroth.

“It was peaceful," Morganroth told the paper. "He didn’t feel a thing."

Kevorkian's interviews with CNN in past years:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: I've rarely been at a loss for words when conducting an interview

soundoff (1,212 Responses)
  1. cg


    June 3, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Phil

    Wow. I didn't even know the guy was still alive...

    June 3, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Realist

    RIP Jack. You were a man ahead of his time.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. keith

    cause of death – suicide. He gave himself a blood clot 🙂

    June 3, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. JH1978

    Rest in peace, Dr. Kavorkian,

    You fought the good fight against the Bible-banging freaks. Go to the free and easy peace that you helped many others to. America needs more heroes like you

    June 3, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      If I were religious, I'd say amen to that.

      Dr. K. was a brilliant, courageous person. History will vindicate him.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • SpiritualOne

      "PEACE". Only alive human beings can experience peace. You don't even believe the dogma you're claimingto be true. If you want him to rest in peace, you're really professing that there is an eternity. It's hard being an aetheist because the Spirit of the man knows otherwise.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      ' If you want him to rest in peace, you're really professing that there is an eternity'
      wow, that was a huge leap of logic. It was wrong however but nice leap.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Shirley

      To die, to sleep and dream no more. Why not say Rest In Peace? Why do you have to be a bible thumper to think there is something else and there will be peace there? We have created this great story in the bible to live by, but come on...it was a few thousand years ago, can we not step into the present and say without fear of lightening striking us down that the many religions we follow on Earth were created by men to answer the question of what happens after we die. People fear that great unknown and religion feeds that fear and wants to control the way you think and behave. I say cast off that fear and embrace each stage of existence on whatever earthly or other plain. Try to be the best person you can be and try not to intentionally hurt others, with that I don't think you can go wrong.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Glenn

    Hope he is being rewarded for all the good he did releaving suffering in this world.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mythoughts

      I agree

      June 3, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. chuck

    An American hero of compassion!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. ComeOnMan9

    RIP, Jack. We will have end of life dignity in the land someday.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. John Smitty

    He heard that sarah palin was considering a run for president and he just dropped dead out of despair.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Disavowed 71

      ...or dropped dead with laughter. Either way, RIP.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • SweeTeaNoVa

      This is a serious subject, stop cracking jokes, have some respect! ... ok ... those Palin comments were really funny!!!

      June 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amandi

    Remembering you respectfully, Dr. K. You shined the light on a subject that is way overdue for an update. I think you were just born ahead of your time, and one day the US will catch up with you. Peace to your family members.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. George

    Rest In Peace

    June 3, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. deuce

    R.I.P. Jack. Thank you so much for allowing so many to die with dignity.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. Todd Lewis

    Rest in peace, sir.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Krysmarine

    Somehow it seems that I should be able to come up with something more meaningful, but for now I will let it be "Rest in Peace."

    June 3, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. chris

    He was a pioneer, rest in peace Dr. Jack.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
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