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. M


    June 3, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nancy M. B.

    He tried to alleviate suffering and for that, I applaud him.

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

      No. He was an attention-hungry mass murderer and he used the most vulnerable people in our society to get that attention. The majority of his victims were not termiinally ill at all, they just happened to be disabled and sadly in this country when you are disabled you are often seen as "better off dead." The only reason Kevork got away with killing people as long as he did was because he targeted people with disabilities. Shame on Kevorkian and shame on a society that let him get by with it as long as he did.

      June 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zach


      He only killed people who were TERMINALLY ill...

      Get your facts straight, you are probably just upset because what he was doing goes against your precious Bible (that could be real or fake, no one knows, even though everyone claims their religion is correct...). Shame on you my ignorant friend...

      June 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie1072

      Zach, you crack me up my man! Kevorkian killed primarily disabled people who were NOT terminally ill as was shown upon his victim's autopsies. Don't you research before you blurt out such nonsensical rhetoric?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Zach, pull up the Detrit Free Press's coverage of Kevorkian's killing spree. That should help you get your facts straight dear boy.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    I had to put my dog to sleep, honestly we have options to do this with such compassion, it was very peaceful. We don't treat humans death with the same respect. RIP Jack.

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

      Adam, if the reason for putting your dog to sleep was not based on economics, you are a rarity among dog owners. The fact is that most dogs are put to sleep because owners can't foot the medical expenses. I certainly don't want to see human beings going the same route. Doesn't it make more sense to fight for affordable medical care?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John Adams

    Hypocrite. He should've killed himself.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Wow, I've never seen anyone so proud of their ignorance before.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      As a descendant of the actual John Adams, I believe this imposter is indeed ignorant. RIP Jack, you've eased the suffering of many.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • bryan Adams

      As a descendant of the summer of 69, I am sure it was the best year of my life.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Weix, Palm City FL

      John Adams is dumb and wears it proudly. Please don't father children. We have enough genetic defects running around.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. NoMoreLabels

    "It was peaceful"

    He would have wanted it that way

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    He put the "human" in "humane".

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • bryan Adams

      and the "fun" in funeral

      June 3, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      The offin' in coffin?
      no? sorry, was just trying to play along.

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

    Pulmonary embolus is a clot in the lungs, not heart. usually called "embolus", not thrombosis because the clood clot starats in one place and then travels to another.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nate

    This man was a good man, with morals and integrity and respect for those not long for this world. It is my hope that someday, should I need assistance because of a dibilitating terminal illness someone like Jack can be there for me and furthermore that it be legal and supported.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • James Coats

      Until we the people with half a brain demand we be treated with the same compassion as our cats it just plain will not happen we have to force this issue !!!

      June 3, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie1072

      Yes, but our cats get put down because we can't afford to pay the vet's bill. Should we use the same rationale on humans or try to better the situation of our pets?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Well, he certainly had no respect for Thomas Youk. You would know that if you were actually in the courtroom and watched the entire videotape of Kevorkian trying to kill the more man. But you weren't there and you don't knowwhat you are talking about. You are simply repeating what you have heard in the media. Not the smartest way to reach accurate conclusions.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rail

    "Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind even if your voice shakes."

    He was a man often reviled for allowing people to make choices that society disagrees with. He stood by his principles and lost everything. Rest well Dr. Kevorkian.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    RIP – A true American Hero weather you believe it medical suicide or not. He believed in it and made extreme personal sacrifices to press his point to the rest of us, the American People. That is what America is about. We are lucky enough to have the freedom to challenge rules and laws we do not feel are right or just. Can anyone question that this man lived what he believed and that he believed he was helping people? Someday this form of suicide may be legal. I know if I am terminally ill and suffering a terrible amount of pain I want to have this option on the table, it should be my choice.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • AlexL

      Oh stop with the drama. the informed among us know that there are a range of reasonable options available to us for determining how we want to end our lives. His victims did not die with dignity. Instead they were exploited by an attention starved death fanatic who got off on watching people die.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jim

    @Comeonman9, dying with dignity is a myth. A when your heart stop all of your bodily fluids are released.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      And that's your definition of dignity?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bruce

    I only hope he went as peacefully as my grandfather went.. sound asleep...not screaming and crying like the passengers in the backseat of his car

    June 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Taylor

      I hope that was a joke cause it made me laugh out loud. My grandparents drive the same way. They had their license revoked, but have they have dementia so they don't remember (or pretend not to?) that it was taken from them.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jesus

    A great man has died. He brought reality to a country mesmerized with myths and fantasies about death.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Shirley

      Thank you, well said.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • AlexL

      Not really. Kevorkian perpetuated myths about living with disability and killed a lot of disabled people who were not terminally ill to prove his point and get his much needed attention.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Al

    Dr. Kavorkian was a hero! A man who fought to to end pointless suffering and allow us die with dignity.
    Unfortunately, he didn't get the credit he deserves and I hope his cause will not die with him.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • AlexL

      Hero's don't help non-terminally ill people with disabilities and who are in a tough spot die.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob W

    See ya later, Jack

    June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37