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. Name*adam

    yap, he should have used his rights RIH

    June 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dwiteschrute

    To ano of you religious, "Pro Life" ers out there. I hope that you are also protesting the current wars that are taking lives, the killing of osama bin laden, the death penalty. etc. O wait... those don't count right??

    June 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dwiteschrute

    To any of you religious, "Pro Life" ers out there. I hope that you are also protesting the current wars that are taking lives, the killing of osama bin laden, the death penalty. etc. O wait... those don't count right??

    June 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dominedeus

    No tears here.....goodbye once and for all....murderer

    June 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yinka

    Afterall, what is life worth when you can't control it. May his fiesty soud rest in perfect peace

    June 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. really?

    RIP Dr. Jack. I believe in what he tried to do 100%. I hope that if, one day, I am at the end of a long, painful battle with an incurable disese that someone will have the kindness to allow me to leave this life with grace and dignity. I have seen the alternative, and it is beyond cruel. Shame on those of you who would wish that on your fellow man... It is equivilent to setting someone on fire and watching a slow burn that can take months or years to end, with the knowledge that there is no cure and no medication which can dull the pain.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rasmus

    RIP Jack. He was an advocate for one of the few basic human rights, that people apparantly have a problem with letting people have! A persons life and decision to live should be one's own, NOONE else's! NOONE else feels the pain like the person self. Sure people can get depressed, but if the wish persists for years and one is terminal already, go for it, why prolong the pain. Many people jump off bridges, pull the trigger etc every year, but some in MUCH WORSE conditions can't even physically take their own life, maybe cause they are paralyzed etc. He should be remembered as "Dr.Mercy" not "Dr.Death"...

    June 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Louie

    I believe that suicide (assisted or not) is morally wrong. If pain medications were properly administered there would be no clamor from Dr. Kevorkian and others for the taking of lives before natural death occurs.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Well if you think its wrong then don't do it. But don't interfere with others who don't subscribe to your beliefs.

      June 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cajun Herb

      Spoken like someone who has never witnessed the torture of a loved one being strung along by our medical practices.

      June 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • leslyn

      Pain? That's all you care about–pain? And are you a doctor, talking about "properly administering" pain meds. Just re pain alone–there is excruciating pain that is highly resistant to medications. If the doctors administered enough pain meds, they'd kill the patient. And then where would your argument of "murderer" be? But more relevant–do you have a clue what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is? No, huh? Try it sometime....

      June 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy Nix

      What you believe in is only relevant for you and the choices you make for your life.
      What you believe in is irrelevant for what everyone else chooses to do with their lives and bodies.

      SO, Believe in what you want but leave your beliefs out of everyone else's lives!

      June 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tenkins

      Yeah right, life is not black and white..

      June 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      It's funny how we think it "humane" to euthanize our pets, who cannot even express their wishes or level of pain, but we find it inhumane to allow a human being, of sound mind and free will, choose that for themselves. So we are willign to show more compassion and concern for a dog or cat that is suffering than another human? It is really messed up. You wouldn't let your dog suffer, unable to eat, enable to walk, unable to respond or enjoy life.....why would you demand a person have to endure that?

      June 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      I believe you are an idiot, but will the state legislate my belief and declare you so?

      June 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jmjmjmjmjm

    The world is a better place for him having lived on it. What an amazing man.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wynsome

    I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Kevorkian's passing. He was a man full of compassion and understanding to the dying persons need to be out of pain and suffering. He helped many people pass peacefully and with dignity. When my mother was dying, I wish I could have called on him to help her. She suffered so terribly and actually asked me to help end her life. So many dying people suffer terribly and WANT to be put out of their pain,misery and suffering . He is a hero in my eyes and heart. RIP Dr.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. G.

    God bless DR. Kevorkian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sharon

    Jack Kevorkian killed many people, most of whom were not terminally ill. Many were women with depression. Many of his victims did not have incurable pain. These are facts. Kevorkian was not a hero any more than other infamous mass murderer's in world history.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • leslyn

      Obviously you've lived a charmed–and ignorant–life. Thank whatever god you believe in that you've never sufferend the unrelenting agony of the problems you so casually dismiss.

      June 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • grandpaof3

      There may come a time when you are suffering in your dead bed that you wish some courageous man like Dr. Jack would appear in front of you. Think about this reply when that happens. The chances for that in our generations are great because we don't die very quickly like our ancestors did.

      June 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      DId you read this in your church paper???

      June 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Venkat

    Rest in Peace....Great Soul

    June 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      PLEASE.......This was not a great man. He was a dork and and deeply troubled individual

      June 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    If the guy belived so much in what he was doing then why didn't he have someone pull his plug or do it himself. I am sure the guy had medicare so actually he was being a burden to society. He should have done the right thing and pulled his own plug.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      because, duh, he wasn't in that much pain. There's a difference between what he was going thru and what the people he helped were going thru.

      June 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LMNGUY

    he was a hero, fighting the law so people did not have to suffer horrible pain any longer! if u think different, then u are dumb.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
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