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. Dick Hertz

    R.I.P. Doc. Thanks for allowing People to die with their dignity.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. WHy

    amazing how many people are able to decide who is a better christain over an internet comment board.
    I'm no fancy big-city preacher, but I don't recall Jesus asking for someone to dope him and stick a trash bag on his head while suffering on the cross.

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

      You are so completely full of shyte and a total moron! Where on earth do you come up with this trash bag stuff? He used drugs to induce cardiac arrest. And by the way, a pathologist must complete medical school and IS an MD. You ignorant fool!!!

      June 3, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. granny11

    Thank goodness one of the most evil persons on the face of the earth is gone. This man tried to play God, when he was only the devil himself. Now, to just defeat Obama in 2012, and we may be on our way to recovery.

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

      I can't believe the idiots that bring politics in to this. You must have Alzheimers, Granny, because you fail to remember all the evil that was done in the administration prior to Obama and have the audacity to imply that he is also evil. His whole presidency has been about fixing the mess Bush/Cheney left us with and dealign with an opposition party that brought nothering to resolve any of our country's probelms but obstruction. But you obviously think they are really OK guys which expalins your complete and utter lack of compassion.

      When you are laying there suffing in your last days just keep thinking how great your life is in those very moments. I wish I could have done something to relieve my granny's pain in her last several months of her life when all she wanted to do was die. My mother was her caregfiver and they both suffered enormously in that painful process. If someone is terminal with the medical records to back it up whats to die with dignity they should be able to and there is nothing evil about that.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Sari


      June 3, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Charlotte

    Thank goodness for a man like Dr Kevorkian and his shared advances in thinking that people had a choice and the right to die should they choose. Thank you Dr. Kevorkian and may you rest in peace from this great struggle to educate the population of another right we should have for the terminally ill that are suffering.

    Sure is better than obama's true "Doctor Death" Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel

    June 3, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Barb Bell

    Bless this man and his compassion for the dying...

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

      Could not agree more. RIP

      June 3, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tuviah

    was a good man. why do we put animals to sleep when they are suffering but not humans. why do inmates in death row have the right to die a painless death but not you.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • ice breaker

      excellent point!!

      June 3, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Yeah you're right we should treat each other like animals..... loser

      June 3, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tamm

    He did good for the people that needed help. They turned to him. We treat animals better.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. T3chsupport

    You can call him whatever you want, but I know that if I'm at the end, and I'm suffering, and ready to go- and my family knows the same- I would hope that someone would do the same for me.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. zzzzzz

    JW: Very true.
    People who judge this man: He was fighting for a choice. He gave patients a choice to end their own lives when they can't bear it anymore. How is this different than pulling the plug? I've seen that once when I was a kid on my tot cousin. Traumatic experience, and couldn't stop crying for days. But then I understood the reasons, and still believe it was the best decision.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. jason

    We send innocent troops to third world countries to die yet this guy is a murderer? We fight for women to be able to take the life of a child yet this is murder ? Screwed up priorities.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ldean50

      We don't "fight" for a woman's right to choose. It's the other side that uses violence or "fighting" . . .

      June 3, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tewrobert

    Oh man, Talk about a hotbed , LOL
    I really do not know why our greedy Government isnt more for this assisted suicide because it would be less money spent on SSI and Medicaid and mowfor them to vacation with, NO one should decide whats good for us, I sure as hell do not want to lay there and die a slow and painful death losing everything and mostly my dignity .ts a no win situation....Lighen up. If he helped them they was going to die anyway......I do not think he took pride in it...I do not think he liked it, He just had enough compassion to help someone.......More than our government and their death squads......
    Talk about a joke

    June 3, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. The Big Picture

    True visionary ahead of his time. He single-handedly opened up for discussion individual rights of the dying.

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

    Dr. K was a hero and hopefully will someday be widely recognized as one. There is nothing wonderful about intractable pain, and we don't get points for misery and suffering! As the mother of a son with a chronic progressive disease, I believe that someone who wants to end his or her life should be able to do that with loved ones around them. It's a shame that it has to be done in secret and in hiding. It would be a terribly hard thing to do, but if I love my son, and I do very, very much, I have to honor his decision even if it's hard. And for it to be legally impossible for me to be there is criminal!

    June 3, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ms Atheist

    I live in Oregon, the only assisted-suicide state in the nation. It is because Dr. Kevorkian brought this issue to light that the public was allowed to vote for assisted suicide here. The people obviously want this choice, as we had to vote it in THREE times over the objections of fundies and politicos before it was allowed to stand. One day we'll look back at the doctor's pioneering methods and wonder how we could have called it a crime.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • SidStoic

      Good on you! I wish more people were rational about issues like this as you are. Cheers!

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

      I'll correct myself: There are now three states with assisted suicide laws on the books: Oregon, Washington and Montana. All pioneer states. Of course. 🙂

      June 3, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. ice breaker

    Dr. K was "pro-life with dignity". He may have differed from those who call themselves "pro-life at any cost" but offer no real solution to suffering of others affected by something incurable and terminal. Dr. K was a truly brave man. He lived his life with dignity, offered many others a chance of dignity and he passed away with dignity.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
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