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. Annemarie

    I belive everyone has the right to assisted suicide if you are terminally ill and with a physician's assistance. I have watched too many of my loved ones die in pain. Why should anyone have to suffer? I watched my sister die of ovarian cancer, and by the time she died, she was just a shell of the woman she used to be. She fought hard but when it returned, she wanted it to be over. We put down our animals because we don't want them to suffer. Dr. Kervorkian was hero because he fought for what he believed in. I never thought he should have gone to jail.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jean

    One of the world's true heroes. RIP.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. get it right

    A blood clot that forms and does not move to another area of the body is called a thrombus, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If the clot forms in a vessel or the heart but moves to another part of the body, it is called an embolus.
    A "pulmonary thrombus" is a blood clot that forms in the lung. If an embolus form in the legs and cause blockage in the heart, it would be refered to as a heart attack brought on by an embolism.
    That's what happens when lawyers try to talk about medicine.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Katie

    I'm sorry he passed. What he did was a good thing–in my opinion. Everyone has a right to end their lives when they want to. It's their life, not ours.
    Rest in peace.....

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

      Everyome has the ability, if not right, to end their own life. A terminally ill person can commit suicide. No outsider and especially a doctor should be involved. When doctors are given the rigth to decide who lives or dies – that is dricetly against what doctors are suppose to do and a dangerous power to give them. Were does it stop and how do they decide who should be allowed to die?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      Ed: When you are in your dead bed, can't even move a finger, try committing suicide … After your mission accomplished, email me (grandpaof3@hothell.com), I want to know how to do it without any assistance. Thanks for your help in advance.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Biggins

    What a shame, he was such an advocate for patient's rights and was even willing to go to jail in order to help people put an end to their suffering...it will be very very difficult to find another doctor with that kind of compassion and devotion to his patients.

    RIP Dr. Kevorkian

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

      Thank goodness! The last thing we need is more attention-hungry little doctors running around and killing people with disabilities who are in tough situations but not even terminally ill. Good riddance to a real menace to society.

      June 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Normal Every-Day American

    RIP Dr. Kevorkian... apparently you knew those people were in pain and just wanted to help alleviate it. That's compassion. Whether you are religious or not... show some respect people. He at least had a higher education than most of you who are being immature! That's enough right there for me (on Dr.'s behalf) to tell you to suck it.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sagebrush Shorty

    Why didn't he commit suicide if he was suffering?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Lee

      He believed it was the patient's choice. He did not advocate everybody that suffered commit suicide. He advocated that the patient should have the ultimate decisions whether or not to end their own life. He made his own choice.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Sterling

      Because a kidney ailment isnt a terminal condition. He took great lengths to only select only terminal ill patients to assist. Thanks for playing.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Because he believed that it is one's right to choose. Just because you have the right to choose, doesn't mean you HAVE to choose it.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      Ken: Good point! But we are having a hard time getting them to understand that simple concept.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lsaguy

    More money is spent, on average, in the last year of life in an insane effort to forestall the inevitable. The medical machine sucks away every bit of property, every penny, every dignity and then, and only then, is someone allowed to die. Dr. Jack stood up to this and never backed down. RIP Doc, thanks for trying.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. FactCheckin

    Was he 83 or 82? And who is Morganroth?

    C'mon CNN, do you editing!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Prometheus

    Hmmm...oddly when he knew his time was imminent, he chose life it seems.

    I would really have liked to have asked him questions regarding his choice regarding this.

    Irony in this is... Well, it's unfortunate to say the least.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. wjn

    And the assist goes to ?

    R.I.P. Dr. K. You did good work.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. jmrdel

    My sister-in-law went to Dr. Kevorkian and he assisted in her suicide. She was in pain most of the time but in no way terminal. The larger question is whether adults should have the right to end their own lives, with or without assistance, for any reason.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      People should have the right to do whatever they want as long as they are not harming someone else. I can cut my arm off if I want to; I can ask another person to cut my arm off if I want to, and if he is willing (kinda yucky, but I am just making a point), and I have adequate health insurance to cover the wound and don't become a burden to society.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ian

    He was a good man who ended a lot of suffering. I think it's embarrassing that people can be so stupid as to call him a murderer for letting people die with the level of dignity most would allow for their pets.
    But we're so terrified of death that many in our culture can't see the perversion in keeping people alive, in pain, with no chance of recovery, all for the sake of not dying, even in cases where the patent wants out. Jack listened to them, risked his own well being and gave them a way out.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. palintwit

    I'm just sorry he passed before his appointment with Sarah Palin.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • realAmerican

      Wow, that's a truly dimwitted and mean statement. Absolutely not called for to wish death on ANYONE. Spoken like a true liberal..... Well, it's CNN, what was I expecting.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • trigtwit...America's favorite tard baby

      @ realAmerican...are you one of Sarah Palin's "real" Americans ?

      June 3, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Stephen

    Vote we start canonization proceedings immediately, no, obviously not Catholic ones, Human ones.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
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