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. John R

    We have lost a logical, humane and compassionate man.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sara

    RIP to a man who realized that death was inevitable. He was a smart. kind and humane man. He made us all question the role of medicine in death.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kirk

    RIP. You were jailed for a bad reason. Everyone should have the right to end their life if they choose so.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. richunix

    A Great man. he was true to his oath and his profession. He will be missed.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Misstrixie

    RIP, Dr. Jack.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. islamabad

    does he got 72 virgins when he dies? Or was he a virgin and has to join someone's harem?

    June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • runawayisland

      stupid

      June 3, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Disavowed 71

      Wow...jealous much? Have a nice day . . . somewhere else.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. AJ

    The article says he died from PULMONARY thrombosis. Pulmonary means lungs. But then the article says he died from a blood clot that formed in his leg and then lodged in his heart (not involving lungs). I'm confused. Did it lodge in his lungs instead of his heart (ie, pulmonary embolism)? It would be quite rare for a clot to actually lodge in the heart (much more common to lodge in the smaller vessels of the lungs).

    June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • ldean50

      Pulmonary refers to the main artery running from the lung to the heart. Pulmonary doesn't mean "lung" it refers to the artery. A thrombus (thrombosis) is the word for "blood clot." wikipedia.com is a marvel; try it sometime.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tex

    A sad day. I will remember him as a pioneer who only wanted to help people end their own suffering and who endured the wrath and ridicule of the ignorant.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dr Perry Fisher

    I suspect that he changed the concepts for manacement of severe illness.I dont agree with the concepts or philosophy he left us RIP

    June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jennifer

    RIP Dr. Kevorkian. I applaud you for everything you tried to do. You were a good man.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Wack Kevorkian

    This guy was absolutely right in what he did. He showed empathy with his patients and realized the pain they were in. I think it was a really bad moment in history when he was persecuted. RIP JK!

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

    A Doctor of Mercy. RIP good sir.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Cuseguy

    Rest in peace Doc! You were a true hero!

    June 3, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joy

    We care about our animals as I do not to suffer but for a human it is a NO NO The doctor will be sorely missed and they, he ones that put him away someday will wish he was there for them. As Nancy said succinctly alleviate suffering'

    June 3, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. erika leber

    I hope he died with dignity, as he helped so many others to do. Sounds like he did. RIP, Doctor K. Your work is now done. complete.

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