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. epona30

    Wow. Sorry to read he went the way he did. He will be considered a hero of modern medicine one of these days.

    I did my CNA training at a long term care facility and I just hate seeing those people suffer the way they do. I bet the majority, if given the choice, would opt to for a quick and dignified death. Most people suffer and the worst die in terrible conditions. Usually left behind by those that were supposed to love them and stuck in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. People who die of pneumonia suffocate slowly and the lucky go into comas and die in their sleep.

    People should learn fro what this man was teaching. There is more to life than just being alive.

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

      Your statement reminds me of my father in law. He was in a nursing home, recouperating from a fall. He was in kidney failure, still going to dialysis three times a week. He decided to stop dialysis, which he knew would result in his death. So in a way, he chose to end his suffering. I agree with you that people should have the option to end their suffering. Kudos to Dr K for what he gave to these patients and their families.

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

    I can't stand to watch you people call the man who murdered my daughter a hero anymore. You even want to question if this happened. Enjoy your political agenda you mindless SOBs! If you had a shred of real compassion then you wouldn't be calling Kevorkian a hero!

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

      compassion for your daughter suffer. thanx mom

      June 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Suicide is for quitters that fail at life!

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

      doormatt, cant wait till your drooling and crapping on yourself

      i will be the first one to encourage your family to let you suffer

      June 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      Matt the guy with nothing worth saying.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sugartaste81

      I wouldn't say choosing to end your life in your 70s or 80s, after dealing with devastating illness, is a cop out. Actually, its the oppposit.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      So, a loved one in the end stages of pancreatic cancer is a quitter??

      June 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jessica

    Burn in hell Kevorkian!

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

      and you are going to heaven for torturing people. great place, genius.l

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

      There is no hell for him to burn in. He will just decompose in the ground like the rest of us, unless he is cremated. In any case, if you believe in the fictional hell, then I assume that you are a Christian, or at least claim to be. Aren't you supposed to suspend judgement and leave it to your conjured up God or Jesus to place the judgement on a person? Your statement just confirms what most atheists believe, and that is that Christians are all hypocrites.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      That's a very Christian thing to say

      June 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sara Shashani

    Crazy to hear that Dr. Jack has moved on. Notorious figure of our time and will be remembered for what he did.

    Always gave great interviews that were thoroughly entertaining to watch/attend. Check out this interview of Dr. Jack from the Forum Film Festival. http://www.forumonlawcultureandsociety.org/blog/2011/05/25/happy-birthday-dr-death/

    June 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave O

    “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity – designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.” Ernest Becker

    June 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yolanda

    Ding dong the killer is dead!

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

      Wow- just wait until you become a vegetable and suffer – you'll be clamoring for Jack

      June 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      You buffoon, the man is a saint.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      Ding dong, Yolanda is a worthless POS

      June 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. whatsupdoc

    Doc, you did good. rest now and be at peace

    June 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Glades2

    For the past 2 months I've been suffering with an indwelling catheter inserted into my bladder – after a lifetime of good health – and sometimes I feel depressed and think that to not be here would be better, HOWEVER – over the past 20 years I've known 4 people who did take their own lives, and as a Christian my guess (and just a guess though perhaps was also a word of knowledge from God) is that the person at the time of their death sees everything their life could have been, had they not taken their life out of God's hands and ended it prematurely (similar to people who see their entire life flash before their eyes during a near-death experience), so, instead of focusing on my life not going any further, I've been asking God to heal me of this terrible medical condition – and, as Christians are taught, to believe in God's healing, no matter what the devil tries to do or say otherwise, since to be ill or have a medical condition can bring despair and is taken advantage of by the devil as it seeks out misguided, confused or mentally ill individuals like the late Dr. Kevorkian to further it's cause, by convincing someone to end their life before it was God's Will to end...

    June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alienate

    R.I.P. Jack. You were a True Human Being.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • SweeTeaNoVa

      Good Man. I can only hope that if I end up suffering at the end, I will be able to have the dignity of making the choice for myself. Good Life's work Jack, RIP.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Don't really know what to say except.... RIP.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Canadian Genius

    Wow almost 700 comments. Mine won't get lost in the shuffle, will it.

    Maybe he was a whacko, maybe not. But our society REALLY does need to address this issue constructively, and not let emotion get in the way. Terminally ill people are being euthanized all the time – quietly, with no formal review, because it is not supposed to be legally happening. If the process is not formalized, mistakes and abuses are going to happen.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mk

      agreed, people will always seek out this service, and without formalization of this practice, there will be doctors who will botch it up or exort patients.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    What Kevorkian did to help the dying gave them an honorable way to go without first having to contribute everything they owned to the medical industry. His only mistake was trying to make a big deal of it in the press.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      How is dying honorable?

      June 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 3lwood

    Amazing, amazing man. Truly inspiring.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mk

    we're so selfish; we keep people alive and suffering because we cannot come to terms with their death...if someone is terminally ill and THEY decided that they have come to terms with death and they are ready to accept it, why do we fight so hard to keep them alive? would you rather have your loved one pumped with chemicals and drugs that keep them in a coma and unaware of their surroundings just so you can selfishly have more time with them? every day is precious, so enjoy the time you have with one another, don't ask for "just one more day." we keep the dying alive and suffering when so many of them have accepted and embraced their fate. our society is so removed from death that we don't know how to understand it, let alone accept it. death is a natural process so why do we interfere? so for all of you who disagree with the death with dignity act, i hope and pray that you never have to suffer from a terminal illness...wouldn't want you to be in someone else's shoes...

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