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. keith

    So if somebody asks you to shoot them between the eyes it's OK if you do?

    You folks are wacked out.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. loriey

    Everyone should have the right to decide when they are ready to leave this Earth. If a person chooses to ask for the assistance of a qualified Dr to help a person pass away with dignity & grace instead of remaining in horrific pain & suffering that seems to go on for an eternity that is the patient's choice, If there is no cure, a terminal illness or becoming so disabled there is no quality of life for the patient it should be the patient's decision on whether they wish to continue life.
    Hospital & Dr bills are increasingly out of sight, health insurance coverage will only pay for so much; nursing homes are required to take all the patients assets before financial assistance is available for someone who never gets better. Those he helped were grateful. Is it right or wrong, is in the eyes of the beholder.
    For ME, I would want his assistance. Rest In Peace Dr. Kevorkian...God Bless you.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eric holder

    That's unfortunate. I was hoping to get an appointment for my ex wife with him.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kuwait_999

    Assisted Suicide is morally wrong.

    I hope Dr. Death repent & pray to the lord for forgiveness at his last hour.

    May God have mercy on him and on all Aitheist

    June 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Athiest

      Wow. Thank you for your educated input. Very enlightened. Head's up; when you're dead, you're worm food. That's it. Game over. Develop some thoughts of your own before its too late.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. really?

    My pets are our children, 2 dogs and a cat. When the time comes that any of them are suffering, in pain, and there is no hope of recovery or respite, I will be at their side and let them go... peacefully and with dignity, without suffering. There are few things harder to true pet lovers. But you don't let them suffer in pain, nor should you for a human loved one. I have final word in the critical care of my parents, and their wishes on paper are exactly the same. We as people should have the same rights as our pets.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Berne

      I agree with you. Also, a person should not have to be terminally ill or in terrible physical pain to receive the relief he/she seeks. My mother has Alzheimer's disease. She has lost her dignity in life. She would not prefer this sort of life to ending it. So far Switzerland offers assisted suicide without terminal illness. I hope I will live to see it adopted here, but if not I hope I will be able to go to Switzerland.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Deb

    Info warrier may or may not have watched a loved die without proper medical care,but then you were not in the Michigan courtroom to watch Kevorkian stab his victim over and over again in a pathetic attempt to insert a needle in the man's vein, were you? Kevorkian was no hero, just a sick man willing to kill helpless people for attention. A selfish, foul and loathsome creature if ever there was one.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MoJo

    It's too bad the spokesperson for Dr Kevorkian is a lawyer who thinks a PULMONARY thrombosis is a blood clot lodged in the heart. The clot is in the lungs.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonigirl Israel

      He was one of the great ones he will be missed / RIP !!

      June 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Susan Berne

    He was a brave hero to me, and I grieve at his death.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adelaide

      agree !!! he did well ......he worked without charge like salvation army ...the ppl wanted to die ...it was their choice ...i hve no idea why he was sent to jail for smth which he did for good cause ....he is still a great person ..

      June 5, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Micah`

    This man did a great service to people who were dying and in pain. He allowed them to make the decision not to suffer any more and also allowed them to die in peace and with dignity. Its sad that we treat animals that are in pain and terminal more humanely than we treat people in the same situations.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynn bolin

      indeed he did

      June 4, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Barb Miner

      Well said in a concise way. And I agree with the other comments that this is done quiety by other physicians and nurses – and I pray it continues and is available to me if I ever find myself in that situation. If you have ever watched someone in extreme pain, unable to perform any normal life functions, praying, praying to be released from this misery ... you might see these care providers as His merciful answer to those prayers, as do I.

      June 4, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kristine

    Dr. K was truly a God send, I've been in chronic pain for over two years now, somedays it drives you crazy, I take morphene and percocets as I get older I wonder how many more pain killers I'll have to possibly rely on...it just keeps on going. Oh yea, If your really John Elway of the Broncos, then I'm Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers....Go Pack...yes I'm from Wisconsin

    June 4, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. lynn bolin

    All that I have to say is that this man gave people a choice when they were dying at what time that they could die...thats it...if anyone has ever worked in healthcare–doctors push the drug to help them go ahead and die and their families never even question it.....yet kevorkian brought this to light, and all of a sudden everyone has a hissy fight.............its just dumb...stupid even....this man should have never went to jail for speaking the truth....his only problem was just that-bringing to light what already goes on....................kevorkian has nothing to fear even after death–he eased many's sufferings, just as doctors do today that never even speak of it......................kevorkian did not do this because he wanted fame–deep down he knew that it is what occurs each and every day-he just took the fall for it, because he knew that this was what it would take to bring it all to peoples attention–sad sad sad...RIP KAVORKIAN

    June 4, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. DrJKH

    Hope they bury him face down, for obvious reasons...

    June 4, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. whatever

    Good, may he rot in hell.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
    • jay

      amen. its never ok to take a life

      June 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ChristianWorldview.net

    Here are some thoughts about the legacy of Dr. Kevorkian: http://www.christianworldview.net/2011/jack-kevorkian-dead-6311-his-legacy-of-death/

    June 4, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Becckkyy

    As a nurse, working at a nursing home. I see patients day in and day out suffering. Patients on the highest narcotic still have pain and no relief. Dr. did a good deed in my book. If you worked with suffering people everyday you would understand not only how it makes the patient suffer but their whole family. The main reason he did this is because of his mother suffering from cancer, and he didn't like to see her suffer.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
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