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. Jazzzzz

    This man tried to comfort those that were suffering. RIP nice man.

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

      Easy to say if you didn't watch his own recording of himself trying to kill poor Tom Youk. No, not Mike Wallace's edited version, but the real thing that jury members were subjected to in his trial. a truly disgusting little fart, that Kevorkian

      June 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. barnyardog

    A brave man with a giant heart. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace .. Gone but never forgotten...

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

      Kevorkian will go down as a bully who killed disabled people.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. d.d.

    RIP good doctor

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

      uhm, wasn't he thrown out of medical school because of his perverse interest in watching people die?

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

    So sad, and so nice to see positive comments on here for a change. Dr. Kevorkian was indeed ahead of his time. I, too, look forward to the day when humankind will be able to choose death on our own terms, in our own time. What a wonderful, compassionate man he was and I thank him, too, for ending the suffering of so many.

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

      Please. He tortured some of his victims! He didn't give a crap about the people he killed.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carl

    Has gone to Heaven or Hell?

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

      Neither place exists, so, no I guess?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • mom of two

      There is no way to know if he has gone to heaven or hell- that's between he and God. If he chose Jesus as his Lord and Savior, then he is in heaven. The Bible clearly states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John.14:6)

      June 3, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Tuviah

      some people find comfort in the belief that there is a god. I find comfort in the belief that there is not an angry god (if you read the old testament a much worse dictator than any in history) waiting to put me in hell forever (after all aren't most people going to hell), while the chosen few get to go to heaven watched forever under that maniac. when I do I find comfort that I'll be in the state I was before i was born.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Honorable Death

      There is no heaven nor hell .. Ignorant

      June 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tickers

    O, Death
    Won't you spare me over til another year
    Well what is this that I can't see
    With ice cold hands takin' hold of me
    Well I am death, none can excel
    I'll open the door to heaven or hell
    Whoa, death someone would pray
    Could you wait to call me another day
    The children prayed, the preacher preached
    Time and mercy is out of your reach
    I'll fix your feet til you cant walk
    I'll lock your jaw til you cant talk
    I'll close your eyes so you can't see
    This very air, come and go with me
    I'm death I come to take the soul
    Leave the body and leave it cold
    To draw up the flesh off of the frame
    Dirt and worm both have a claim
    O, Death

    June 3, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bosco56

    Define "Irony".

    June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Cranky

      Something that happens that's the opposite of what you would expect to happen. But what does that have to do with this story?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. AJ

    Thanks for your great vision. Some of us look at you unfavorably, but your love and care for the helplessly lost cannot be forgotten. Rest in Peace great man. We appreciate you.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Lilly

      Kevorkian, Your disdain and contempt for the less fortunate disabled people that you exploited and murdered has brought great shame to our country. Adios!

      June 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. strandedintownieland

    Someday, when society stops viewing human life as an imperative, Mr. Kevorkian will be viewed as a trailblazer. People should not have to drown in their own bodily fluids, writhe in constant agony or, for that matter, put a bullet through their brains to get to their final resting place.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Lilly

      Stifle the drama. It's a real bore. He murdered people with disabilities who were not terminally ill while society stood by and that's all ther is to it.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brent

    Dr. Kevorkian was a hero to many people. He may have broke the law and been vilified by many but he did it all for the right reasons and stuck to his morals. It's sad how much of his life was spent in prison but he's free now. Rest in Peace.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • DeniseK

      He euthanized disabled people,most of whom were not dying. What is the "right" reason for killing them? That they had disabilities? That he needed fodder for his macabre campaign? Honestly.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Infowarrior

    This man wasn't a hero. He was obsessed with death and made a living out of it. Save your praise for a true hero.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You have obviously never watched a love one endure a slow painful death.. mark my words... It will happen to you.. and you will soon change your views.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • LeeH

      He was a hero to many, many people. He fought for freedom, just as our solders do

      June 3, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Taog

      He was not making money assisting suicides. He even lost his medical license because of it. It obviously was not about money. He was fighting to expand our rights, and I appreciate that.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • M

      And who would that be? A young kid who was brainwashed in to defending his country and in return had his limbs and/or life taken from him? How was Dr. Kavorkian any less brave, selfless and heroic in his actions?

      June 3, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • PCP

      @infowarrior – This man WAS a hero. My father couldn't understand why he had to suffer when we can allow a dog to die in a dignified, peaceful way. Dad begged someone to end his misery. Thanks to people like you, my dad had to die in pain and despair. I can only hope you get a taste of what that's like, you hypocrit.

      June 3, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Disavowed 71

      Given your incredible understanding and true enlightenment that you show in your statement, "Infowarrior", I am guessing your hero is Lady Gaga or Snookie. So bravo to you!

      June 3, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lisa

    He brought an important issue to the forefront of public discussion at a time when it was long overdue. Sometimes we treat our pets better than each other, and he called us on that. Thank you, Dr. K. Rest in peace.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. Emil^

    History will find Dr. Kevorkian as a champion who advocated and fought for Mercy & sought Dignity in death. He was blessed to die peacefully; this is fitting. I wish the best to his family and am sad to see a champion of the suffering pass. God Bless. May you legacy live on.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    The man is a hero. We don't let animals suffer. Why should humans suffer?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Guest

    The man was a pioneer. Never should have he been labeled a criminal.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 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