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. Karl

    RIP And thank you for fighting so that people could chose to die in dignity when their is no cure for them.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. unretired05

    And who is more cruel Kevorkian or the politicians who in the name of right to life force the elderly to suffer in nur$ing homes until they can't eat or drink on their own and waste away from starvation and die of thirst. Forcing them through this is far more cruel. If you did this to an animal you would be charged with cruelty.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. BD1

    The man with one of the most famous nicknames (Dr. Death) has died. Hopefully it was a peaceful moment and I'm wondering who he got to assist him?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mito

    What Dr K did was very humane, but there is a good reason why what is did cant be made into a law. Its a slippery slope and can be very easily abused with the defination of 'terminally' ill very easily changing over time and by individuals. If we all can choose the timing of the death, how many of us would choose it at a wrong time?
    I cant believe I am agreeing with the Sarah Palin diciples here!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Cathy W

      All laws form a point on some slippery slope. And the government chooses the the timing of death pretty regularly with the death penalty. It's OK for the government to decide when to end a criminals life, but NOT ok, for a individual to decide when to end their OWN life. It seems to me (and I'm a liberal) that this is an example of the "Nanny State" in action, where the government is interferring in the end of life or quality of life decisions of an individual.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    People of the United States of America.
    I am not for anyone suffering in pain but dead is forever.There are plenty of drugs out there to relive pain..I want my life if I were Terminal to be prolonged for as long as possible until my body shuts down.Since there is no real gaurantee of whats on the other side(I am Catholic)after death ,I would like to live until 120.By that time they may figure out a way to download your memory and soul to a CD clone you then upload you back into a new body.That would probably cost millions if not billions to do

    June 3, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Menza

      Get over it – you were dead before, and you'll be dead again. It just doesn't matter.

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

      Well Frank good for you... I on the other hand do NOT want all those things and I want death with dignity... lets just say that I would not end your life if you want to live in pain and agony, but by the same token allow ME to choose my own means of dying if I want... DR Kevorkian you will be missed and not forgotten

      June 3, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Menza

      Frank wants to be cloned so he can spent eternity ion the couch eating chips and watching Sally Jesse Raphael. Stop wishing for more life and start making the life you have count!

      June 3, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • SweenDog67

      Sorry I had to use a reply to leave my comment. Thank You Frank. I guess CNN only wants my opinion on certain issues. Anyway, R.I.P. Doc, Thanks for helping to open our eyes to the dignity deserved to those who live in constant pain and misery.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian


      I respect your decision to want to prolong your life as long as possible. Can't you respect someone else's decision not to? While you may value "life" in that situation, others may not. It should be up to the person (mental disturbances aside).

      June 3, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • SweenDog67

      one more thing Frank... I hope ya got good insurance.... If it's an accident that puts you in that sad situation you mention it may be more "COST EFFECTIVE" to just let you be on your way... Either way, sooner or later I'll see you on the other side. If your looking for me I'll be out on the perimeter with Jim Morrison listening to Garcia whale on his Guitar.... Your gonna miss out on a lot of fun...

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

      This isn't about religion, it's about the right to choose. Lawmakers who oppose this are forcing their choices onto the masses. Unfortunately they are making those decisions based on their personal religious beliefs. People who don't subscribe to religious beliefs shouldn't have their rights hindered by other peoples ignorance or belief system. Do us a favor and "pray" for us while we die in peace.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • JB

      and that is your choice, your right. But, who are you to force your beliefs on anyone else??

      June 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Julie

    After watching loved ones die a long, suffering death, I think this man was a hero. Why would anyone want to suffer or watch others suffer, knowing that healing isn't an option. This man was helping those in need. It's a shame there aren't more like him.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew Poston

    Dr. K was a brave man who will one day, along with ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER, be named a Saint.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. hhhhhhhhhhhhh


    June 3, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • adidasle

      care to expand upon your earth shattering thoughts???

      June 3, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Spunky DerWondermonkey

    It's tragic that we are kinder to animals when they are suffering, than we are to fellow human beings...

    June 3, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Princess

      I was glad to see your comment this morning. My dad died of cancer and he always said the exact same thing. Thank you.

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

      Not me... I paid nothing for my dog and she is 11 now....but I refused to pay anything for her to die. She'll die on her own...She's a dog!

      June 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myron

      I know Michael Vick

      June 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Obi

    Oh no, I actually liked this guy after watching his interviews. He is a decent man and I do understand his views. Good thing he didn't pass through the pains that he didn't want others to go through. A decent death, old enough. RIP Jack.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. KRS1

    Jack will be looked back at in a positive light. I think most of us already feel that way.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. shagy2dope

    most doctors are in it for the money and jack was one of the rare doctors who put peoples needs before his own and that's what made him a great man, i hope anyone who thinks he was a bad man is never of need of a doctor like him those people must never have seen someone suffer with a long term illness, dignity to say when u have had enough should be a right for any america

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

      most doctors are way smarter than those wall street thugs

      if they were in it for the money they would be there and not trying to help people

      June 3, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      I have no idea what you do for a living, but don't tell me that you aren't in it for the money. What evidence do you have, other than your opinion that most Doctors are only in it for money.
      Very very few people work for idealistic reasons, except of course for yourself.

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

      ...What djb said...

      Seriously...if we wanted a bunch of money we would NOT be doctors. There are so many jobs that make more money for far less hours (and far less education).

      June 3, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. dawn

    all the years he promoted ending ones life peacefully looks like karma has a funny way of working .

    June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cathy

    Dr. Kevorkian was a real hero. God bless him. It's a shame that religious fanatics succeeding in making him a criminal, and denied people the compassion and the right to choose to die with dignity in the face of terminal illness. Anyone in daily agony with no hope of recovery would be begging for a merciful and quick death. RIP, Dr. K.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. d

    RIP Dr Kevorkian. You tried to help but the"good people" hounded you. And to all you religious nut jobs out there, pray that you will not be stricken with a painful, debilitating and long lasting final illness.

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