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. Christine

    He was a merciful man. Deserving of the Nobel prize.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • MATJAN62

      Christine, you took the words right out of my mouth. Most do not even begin to comprehend his selfless work.
      I'm sad that he was so alone especially at his own death. Peace and Love Dr. K

      June 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Christine


    He was a merciful man. Deserving of the Nobel prize.
    I am a pharmacist.
    I am not a Religious.
    If suicide is a human sin, what is suffering?
    He dared to get the conversation going on things that were politically incorrect.
    -Many Cheers to the Dr.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    What hypocrisy. If your dog has terminal cancer and is suffering with no hope of cure, and you refuse to euthanize him. you are charged with animal cruelty and sent to prison.
    If your father has the exact same condition and you euthanize him (assuming that is his wish, of course), you are charged with murder and sent to prison.
    Can anyone give me a (non biblical) rationialization of this?

    June 5, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. ???

    Why didn't he use his machine on himself?

    June 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonigirl Israel

      he didn't do it to his self becouse he was not ready to die his work was not done his life was takin from GOD who thought it was time for hm to let go he did all he could !!!! RIP DR DEATH..

      June 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karina

    Why did he decide to play relaxing music as he was dying? Why not go the same way the patients he murdered went? Wewe they given the choice of a classical concert?

    June 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sam

    The most fundamental right of all is, to borrow the phrase from Hamlet, "To be or not to be"

    If I choose to not exercise my right to free speech, assembly, or to keep and bear arms, etc, no one complains.

    The State has no rights, so by what power does it force me "to be" if I wish not to be? Forget any religious arguments. Law is secular, as it should be. If you are Christian, for example, that is fine and you do not have to choose physician assisted suicide. But if someone wishes to die with that and considers it dignified, how dare you forbid them from doing otherwise?

    I believe that after consultation with physicians, mental health professionals, and if appropriate, their spiritual leaders, everyone should have assisted suicide as an option.

    June 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jenny

    Let it be noted that he gave patients the means to end their lives quickly and with little pain as possible. It is ultimately the patients who pushed the button to end their own suffering. We should all be so lucky to have a choice like that should we need it. RIP Doctor Kevorkian. Hopefully the issue of assisted suicide will remain in discussions long after your passing.

    June 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RS


    June 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Ram a bible up your @$$.

      July 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • JL

      Sorry, but we are not God. How can we bear and tolerate pain? Why must we appreciate pain in order to go to a greater place? It does not make sense to me. If God wants me to suffer through my death, then, I don't think very much of that kind of God.

      July 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      lol black people

      February 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Highly Favored Sista

    He was wrong... No one has the right to take their own lives. You didn't create yourself. God's word clearly states in Psalm 100:3 "...It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves... So, only JESUS has the right to allow his will for our lives. Each of us are born with a purpose... JESUS died so we could live eternally. So why should we kill ourselves? it's defeating the purpose!!!!

    June 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. diz

    got i hate jezus freaks. when someone finds proof in the dirt that an unshaven european white man with magic powers existed in the deserts of the near east 2000 years ago, then i might believe. but i'll still be skeptical until they find scottish pine dna in the ruins of a camel manger.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. newlifestar

    I read Dr. Kevorkian’s biography as well as many books on the subject of death, dying with dignity, euthanasia, etc. written by great writers. They are all compassionate, empathetic, and loving human beings—compassionate, empathetic, and loving enough “to not want to see, hear, touch, feel, and sense another wounded human being to suffer unnecessarily and inhumanely” given the wounded person is “no longer desired to suffer the way that he or she has been” for whatever reason—does not have to be an incurable diseases like cancer or virus.

    Dr. Kevorkian was indeed heroic and compassionate enough to be willing to release the wounds, violations, damages, losses, and injustices that his patients have encountered during their lifetimes. So, when “opponents of the right-to-die movement are not allowing people to die” and “not allowing heroes and compassionate people such as Dr. Kevorkian and all the leaders and participants of the right to die movement and societies to honor the last wish of a wounded human being,” what kind of principles and consciences do these opponents hold? Do they just use irrelevant and inaccurate reasons to deny a human being’s right to make the right and best choice for the sake of his or her well-being during the stage of inhumane torments? How dare are the opponents of the right-to-die movement to judge the quality of life that these wounded human beings were or are having when life simply gave up on them as if their lives truly have been functioning with incurable cancerous, infected, and uncontrollable cells although they may not have cancer or virus in their biological functions and body systems? Where are the opponents’ hearts, eyes, ears, minds, and spirits for the wounded human beings whom have been suffering inhumanely and unnecessarily?

    There is nowhere in the bible or law indicated that “we shall not help when our fellow human beings are in need of our help including giving them what they need the most when they need it” such as “honoring their right and choice to die and assisting them at their voluntary consent!” So, if we have to go against doctors, healthcare providers, family members, close friends, ministers, etc. when they are being compassionate, empathetic, and loving enough to be willing to lessen the unbearable torments that a wounded person is going through, it is “not right, not just, not compassionate, and not humane for us to oppose and deny the right and freedom of the wounded human beings”

    Since “it is our duty” and “always will be our duty” to stop another person from undergoing severe distress or inhumane torments anymore! In essence, the opponents of the movement are indeed not helping the wounded human beings! They simply want these human beings to suffer until the “inhumane sufferings brought insanity to the heart, soul, mind, spirit, and body of these wounded human beings!” Do you call this compassion, just, ethical, reasonable, and humane?

    God and society never want us to go through life “when life is no longer life” because it is “no longer sacred, no longer precious and no longer desirable to live” let alone the wounded human beings have tried and tried; and tried so many different ways and still trying, but the outcome will not and cannot change! Therefore, the best and only option for this wounded human being is to exit and ask mercy, compassion, and empathy from God and Society to allow the wounded human beings to be free once and for all, so, they would “not have to fight a fight that is not worth fighting for; a fight that has already been lost a long time ago; a fight that only death could heal and cure their torments!”

    July 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
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    This web site can be a walk-by way of for all of the information you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you’ll definitely uncover it.

    September 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ana

    This man was a hero.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dr faustus

    A new java diet regime i have heard the actual whole lot currently. The next thing you already know we will always be possessing something similar to unfastened ten fat in one week together with tea and also cookies ! after all, that will come …dr. simeons hcg diet

    January 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gayle Laughon

    The ideal this man stood for can only be seen as right, just, and compassionate. How could it be otherwise? We put animals out of their misery so they don't suffer until their death, we ease their suffering, we give them peace. Human beings deserve no less than animals. What kind of person can bear to see a loved one suffer day after day in excruciating pain or intolerable loss of dignity when they can no longer do one solitary personal thing for themselves? To me that kind of person is not in possession of either a heart or a soul. I agree with Dr. Kevorkian's stand, totally. A human being should have the right to say when they have dealt enough with their suffering and just want to be set free from the hell they are living in so they may find peace and their unbearable pain can no longer torment them. I believe firmly that people should be assisted and loved enough to be able to count on someone to be there for them and help them move on and away from unbearable suffering. As far as I am concerned, Dr. Kevorkian was a saint.

    March 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
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