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. Abraham

    Barry, you bring shame to Jews everywhere when you try to excuse Kevorkians murder using the Torah. Life is sacred you hutzpah!

    June 3, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      As the Psalter said: Your word, Oh, YHWH, is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

      Blessed be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and blessed be the word of YHWH, which is a light for the Jews and the gentiles.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. pablo

    all the negative comments are from typical religious whack jobs.
    As soon as you sheeple figure out you've been bamboozled ... the better off this race will be.
    RIP Jack and thank you!!!!

    June 3, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Charles

    Kevorkian is dead! Yippee!!!! His suffering is over! All of you pseudo-compassionate people, come on and celebrate! We should be happy about this right? I mean, that's where your support for his murders comes from isn't it? Compassion for the suffering? Well, he suffered and now he's dead. Why so glum?

    June 3, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • 3lwood

      You will never see the ignorance of your opinion on this matter until you are suffering on your death bed. This man was an advocate for the most basic human right we will ever have. It baffles me that people like you have the gall and arrogance to think you know better about anyone's life than they do.

      June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon

    taste of his own medicine??

    June 3, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. angrysmell

    only cowards and imbeciles think critically about the world, care about the suffering of others and fight to defend their rights. real human beings ignore all science, think about no one but themselves and base all their decisions on gut feelings and anecdotes passed on to them by their most ignorant relatives.

    ...and in the end jack died of natural causes. god is hilarious.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • joey

      your correct, and if any christian trash trys to prolong my torture, i have answers in place.

      June 3, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Am

      As far as we know, Kervorkian died of natural causes.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • hotrodgary

      I would not dream of imposing my wishes on another person. When I had to terminate my last dog's life, I cried for days. I was keeping her alive for my selfish reasons, so I let her go. I pray for God to reunite us someday. In the meantime, I 'm thankful Dr. Jack brought forth a most logical choice for me when needed. He was a good and brave person.May God treat him well. and may we all have a choice.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joey

    jews, chrisgtians, and muslims, all children of abraham, killing each other,

    and they have an issue with doc jack. you people defy intellectual capacity.

    please off each other already

    June 3, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      "jews, chrisgtians, and muslims, all children of abraham"

      you said it... religion is the root of all evil...

      June 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mother

    Die you monster! I'll never get my daughter back, but at least you're burning in hell now! Burn you sorry SOB!

    June 3, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • deathandtaxes

      did he assist in your daughter's death?

      June 3, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • joey

      hes right there with saliva sucking, alzheimered ronald reagan , perfect

      June 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ Mother

      He died. This is an article about his death.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • david

      yes.. he made your daughter ask for his assistance.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • um...

      say what?

      June 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3lwood

      We know your pretending to be something on the internet that your not, because you don't have the integrity to openly stand up for what you think is right. You are a coward, and how dare you impose your will on anyone else's life. Why so much hate for someone who did such good? This man was criminalized for one thing: decreasing the amount of human suffering.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      So you would rather have your daughter suffer just so you can get more time with her???? You are truely the monster, Dr. K only helped those with terminal illness that wanted to end life on their terms. That is the humane thing to do! That is why I am moving to a state that had a death with dignity law.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carolyn

      I don't know all the answers, but running away from suffering is a cop out. Our society needs to choose is life a gift or something we can choose. Funny thing that it's okay for others to decides someone's fate be it abortion, death penalty etc. but God forbid if we choose to end our lives. That's just wrong. The majority is always right – isn't that what America is all about.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ummyeah

      no majority is not always right, and certainly not what america is about.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • sugartaste81

      Running away from suffering? Have you ever had a loved one fall deathly ill? Where the only chance of their survival is to be hooked up to numerous machines, wearing catheters, drooling on themselves, unable to say anything except "Help"? And actually, the FOunding Fathers wanted America to be a place where the minority was protected by the majority.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      This is not an issue for the majority to decide, as most of us will never know the kind of pain and suffering that terminally ill patients feel. It should be their right to choose whether they want to continue to live through the suffering or to die with a bit of dignity. It would be one thing if there was a chance for recovery, but if not, then why not just let them go? What effect would it have on your life? This is the problem with many social issues. You have too many "Christians" standing up for what they believe, but they never take the time to consider the toll that may be placed on the ones that are suffering. Try to place yourself in their position and think objectively.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JophannesHuss

      You can suffer all you want just don't drag the rest of the world into it because of your stupid and naive beliefs

      June 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dwiteschrute

      So you were against both wars in the Middle East and killing Osama bin Laden then right?

      June 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      TROLL!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • denise

      People like you should drop dead! Small minded moron! NO one makes anyone do anything they do NOT want to do and if they do shame on them. I believe we all have a "right" to die with dignity and some grace and that is what this mad OFFERED not forced.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rampart

      Was this your decision to make or your daughters? Surely you make your own decisions...

      June 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • R

      Your daughter's life was her own. I am sorry for your loss. However, ask your self, what kind of mother you are ? You want your daughter to live miserable life over peaceful death. Also, FYI...we all gonna die one day. Even Lazarus died. Jesus had only temporary solution. Permanent solution is in your self. Seek it and you will get it. Hope you find peace and love in your life.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. deathandtaxes

    why is death treated like its unnatural, its part of life and we need death before we completely deplete earth... meds and machines keeping ppl alive is unnatural

    June 3, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • 2termlimit

      not to mention what prolonging the inevitable is doing to medicare and social security.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • shortyellowbus

      THE GREATEST DESIRE OF THE HUMAN SOUL IS TO FREE ITSELF FROM THE HUMAN BODY

      June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    People have their thoughts one way or another about him and his work, usually it can't be changed. My sole argument is that your beliefs should not interfere with mine and right now as things stand they do.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • joey

      introspective, what are you going to do about it?

      June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shortyellowbus

    no eliquent text/writing here and all humor aside, sometimes there is a thin line between living and suffering and this society wants people to live indefinately even through sickness and pain.......I support Dr. K for the afformentioned reasons

    June 3, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Let God

    The "HUMANE" thing to do is to let God decide when the patient should go back to He who created him! He will not give one more than they can possibly bear no matter how bad it seems or how one may feel. Suffering is part of the dying process but it should not end without God's say so.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • joey

      why does suffering have to be part of the dying process? you do it your way. you interfere with mine, the process will be painful.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr Phil

      No thanks.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Am

      You are assuming that everyone believes in "god" and that your opinion is the "humane" option.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Why should this apply to someone who isn't Christian? It may be true that a Christian is instructed to bear the suffering until death comes, but no one has to ascribe to Christianity. In fact, due to the separation of church and state, this opinion of yours has absolutely no bearing on the law whatsoever.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moe Vee

      Let your God decide for you and if I believe in God, mine for me. If God is so humane, it sure is an under acheiver.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • deathandtaxes

      the why did "god" create Dr K?

      June 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      Remember the Scripture teaches us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore we have an awesome responsibility to allow God to work through us. Sometimes this included doing difficult things

      June 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CabinCrew

      You couldn't have said it more sheepish and herd-like than the next Christian in your pew.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ

      I don't get the statement 'god doesn't give anyone more than they can handle'. What does that mean exactly?

      June 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JuliaInNewMexico

      If "God" gives us free choice, than it is our choice, and our choice alone, to decide to end our own life and not prolong our suffering. If "God" provides us an avenue to end our suffering than by all means factor that option in. It is curious how God-fearing folks limit others' choices under the guise of God's will when it is God who put the options in front of us to begin with.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Glades2

    I thought of several other things to write, but what feels right is this – may God have mercy on his soul...

    June 3, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • joey

      your a genius!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • deathandtaxes

      he's prolly god's right-hand man now and head of the Dept of Death and Illness in heaven

      June 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. steve

    thought he took the oath to preserve life, I was always behind this man. the suffering that people endure on terminal illnesses should not happen. those who want their loved ones laying dormant, comotose, and just living on a threat are the most selfish people in the world. they have no real compassion for a loved one. only their selfish demands!

    June 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • shortyellowbus

      WELL PUT STEVE

      June 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JuliaInNewMexico

      I recall years ago taking my very ill elderly cat to the vet. "Sabrina's" kidneys had failed. Repeated and expensive attempts to treat her were fruitless, do to her advance age and fragile health. The vet took me aside and reassured me that everything that could be done was and then pleaded with me to end her suffering. He said that she was suffering and only knew her current pain. She wasn't living for tomorrow.

      I realized then we were prolonging her life for us, not for her. We weren't ready to let her go, but it was her time and we had to accept it. We allowed the vet to sedate her and peacefully end her life with her loving family of humans around her.

      I do not regret ending her life, but do regret prolonging it and causing her great pain and fear.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    Suicide is for quitters! Assisted suicide is for lazy quitters!

    June 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Yeah, we should ban laziness!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Am

      Matt, the expert, speaks.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • joey

      ok , dormatt, we have some new ideas for you

      June 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Yeah! I'm an expert! I committ suicide all of the time! QUITTERS!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      Matt, the idiot.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. luann

    not all the people jack assisted were terminal he help a women end her life she had fibromyalgia had this myself for 30 years at times death seemed like the answer from suffering with a new drug and new understanding of how the disorder works i am now living a mostly pain free life glad i did not know jack

    June 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JuliaInNewMexico

      This opens another debate: Extending life and quality of life issues.

      When I am so ill that I am in a "vegetable" state, I would want to have the plug pulled. I don't want me family to endure years of bedside vigils for a 1 in a million chance I may make a modest recovery.

      I watched both my mother's father & then my mother linger in nursing homes with Alzheimer, dementia and emphysema. There was no hope of recovery. We did not have the option of ending their lives peacefully and with dignity. Had the option been available, I know my mother would have certainly chosen it. She cared for my grandfather through his 10 yrs of care and asked us NOT to keep her at home in a well intentioned attempt to care for her. She was a very loving and unselfish woman. We followed through with her wishes and secured 24/7 nursing home care for 6 long and agonizing years while she struggled for every breath and had a total loss of bodily functions, memory & speech.

      My dear husband, on the other hand, would like me to extend his life by whatever means necessary in the hopes of a future medical breakthrough. .

      Because I am female and younger, I will likely outlive him. Although we are in our late 40s we already have an insurance policy for extended nursing home care to ensure the resources are available for his wishes. You never know... any one of us could be incapacitated by an accident or illness at any time.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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